Polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy: incidence, demographic features, and clinical characteristics

Arch Ophthalmol. 2003 Oct;121(10):1392-6. doi: 10.1001/archopht.121.10.1392.


Objective: To clarify the incidence, demographic features, and clinical characteristics of polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV) in Japanese patients.

Methods: Consecutive patients with presumed neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who met the eligibility criteria were examined between January 1, 1999, and October 31, 2001. All patients underwent complete ophthalmologic examination and fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography.

Results: Among 471 eyes of 418 patients who met the criteria, 110 eyes (23%) of 100 patients were diagnosed as having PCV and 361 eyes (77%) of 318 patients as having neovascular AMD. Mean age of patients with PCV was 68.4 years, with a male preponderance (63% of patients); involvement was mostly unilateral (90% of patients), and polypoidal vascular lesions were located mainly in the macula (85% of eyes). Retinal manifestations of PCV were characterized by serous macular detachment (52% of eyes), submacular hemorrhage (30% of eyes), and retinal pigment epithelium degeneration (10% of eyes). There were few subretinal fibrovascular proliferations (7% of eyes). Mean visual acuity was 0.31 in eyes with PCV and 0.18 in eyes with AMD. The incidence of severe visual loss (0.2 or worse) was 35% in PCV and 53% in AMD.

Conclusions: The incidence of PCV in Japanese patients is high, and the incidence and demographic features vary in different ethnic groups. The clinical manifestations of PCV and AMD resemble each other; however, PCV is characterized by low incidence of subretinal fibrovascular proliferation, slow progression of vascular abnormality, and minimal association with conventional choroidal neovascularization. These factors seem to lead to a more favorable visual outcome in PCV compared with neovascular AMD.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Choroid / blood supply*
  • Choroid / pathology
  • Choroid Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Choroid Diseases / pathology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Visual Acuity


  • Indocyanine Green