Polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy and neovascularized age-related macular degeneration

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999 Nov;117(11):1503-10. doi: 10.1001/archopht.117.11.1503.


Objective: To determine the nature and frequency of polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV) in a series of patients suspected of having neovascularized age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Methods: A prospective analysis of 167 consecutive, newly diagnosed patients aged 55 years or older with presumed neovascularized AMD was performed. All patients were examined with fundus biomicroscopy as well as fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography.

Results: Choroidal neovascularization secondary to AMD was diagnosed in 154 (92.2%) of 167 patients; 13 (7.8%) patients had PCV. The patients affected by PCV were younger than those with AMD (P = .01). Peripapillary choroidal neovascularization was seen in 3 (1.9%) of 154 patients with AMD and 3 (23.1%) of 13 patients with PCV (P = .006). Significant drusen were present in 63 (70%) of 90 fellow eyes with unilateral AMD compared with only 1 (16.7%) of 6 eyes with PCV (P = .02). Only 5 patients with AMD (3.2%) were nonwhite compared with 3 patients with PCV (23.1%) (P = .02).

Conclusions: A measurable number of elderly patients with findings suggestive of neovascularized AMD and serosanguineous macular manifestations will instead have PCV. Polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy can occur in any sex or race, but is more commonly seen in the peripapillary area, without associated drusen, and in nonwhite patients. It is important to differentiate AMD from PCV because there are significant differences in the demographic risk profile, natural course, visual prognosis, and management of these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Choroid / blood supply*
  • Choroid / pathology
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / diagnosis
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / etiology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Macular Degeneration / complications*
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Detachment / diagnosis
  • Retinal Detachment / etiology
  • Retinal Drusen / diagnosis
  • Retinal Drusen / etiology


  • Indocyanine Green