Objective: To topographically localize vascular channels, macrophages, and retinal pigment epithelium and other components of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) associated with age-related maculopathy.
Methods: Two postmortem eyes with age-related maculopathy and CNV were evaluated. The formalin-fixed CNV complex was excised and processed for confocal scanning laser microscopy including immunostaining for factor VIII-related antigen and incubation with Ig fluorescein isothiocyanate. After confocal microscopy, the specimens were serial step sectioned, stained, and 2-dimensional topographic reconstructions were made. The confocal images were compared with the 2-dimensional reconstructions.
Results: Both specimens contained central disciform scars surrounded by areas of intact retinal pigment epithelium. The first specimen was more atrophic and contained fewer choroidal neovascular channels than the second specimen. The topographic arrangement of the CNV and retinal pigment epithelial changes in the confocal images corresponded with the 2-dimensional reconstructions. Macrophages were concentrated around areas of vascularization.
Conclusion: Confocal scanning laser microscopy of excised CNV simulates fluorescein angiography and topographic localization of the components of CNV provides insight into the pathogenesis of CNV.