Basal linear deposit and large drusen are specific for early age-related maculopathy

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999 Mar;117(3):329-39. doi: 10.1001/archopht.117.3.329.


Objective: To determine the distributions of basal laminar and basal linear deposits in Bruch membrane (BM) with respect to age and early age-related maculopathy (ARM).

Methods: The foveas of 41 human eyes (<60 years [n = 9]; > or =60 years [n = 32]), preserved no later than 3.5 hours post mortem, were examined using light and electron microscopy. Ten eyes met histopathologic criteria of the Alabama Age-related Macular Degeneration Grading System for early ARM. We calculated the specificity, sensitivity, and odds ratios for the association of basal laminar and basal linear deposits with early ARM.

Results: Both deposits occurred only in eyes older than 60 years. The highest specificities and sensitivities for early ARM were attained for eyes that had basal linear deposits or large (>125 microm) drusen, followed by eyes with any quantity of basal laminar deposits that also contained membranous debris. Eyes with ARM were 24 times more likely than age-matched control eyes to have basal linear deposits or large drusen (P = .002).

Conclusions: Basal linear deposits and large drusen with membranous contents constitute different morphologic forms of the same ARM-associated lesion and may be significant for progression to late ARM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bruch Membrane / pathology*
  • Bruch Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Extracellular Matrix / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retinal Drusen / pathology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity