Purpose: To conduct a prospective study of macular translocation in patients with subfoveal choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration.
Methods: In 10 eyes of 10 patients with subfoveal choroidal neovascularization and best-corrected visual acuity ranging from 20/50 to 20/800 (median, 20/111), the fovea was relocated by means of scleral imbrication, intentional retinal detachment with small posterior retinotomies, and partial fluid-air exchange. In two eyes, the choroidal neovascular membranes were removed at the time of macular translocation; in seven eyes they were photocoagulated in the postoperative period; and in one eye the membrane was removed during reoperation to unfold a macular fold.
Results: All 10 eyes were followed up for 6 months. The median postoperative foveal displacement was 1286 microm (range, 114 to 1,919 microm). In three eyes (30%), a foveal fold formed postoperatively requiring reoperation, with one of these eyes requiring a second reoperation for a rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. Best-corrected visual acuity improved in four eyes (median, 10.5 letters) and decreased in six eyes (median, 14.5 letters). The median change in visual acuity was a decrease of 5 letters. The final best-corrected visual acuity was 20/80 in two eyes, 20/126 in one eye, 20/160 in four eyes, 20/200 in one eye, 20/250 in one eye, and 20/640 in one eye.
Conclusions: Our initial experience with limited macular translocation suggests that this surgical technique is unpredictable. However, in patients with subfoveal choroidal neovascularization from age-related macular degeneration, it offers the potential for improving visual function and may be associated with less loss of vision than the disease itself, if allowed to progress. Further refinements in surgical indications and technique are needed to make this procedure safer, more predictable, and more beneficial.