Changes in fundus autofluorescence in patients with age-related maculopathy. Correlation to visual function: a prospective study

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2005 Apr;243(4):300-5. doi: 10.1007/s00417-004-1027-3. Epub 2004 Oct 13.


Background: As members of the Fundus Autofluorescence in Age-related Macular Degeneration Study Group (FAM Study Group), we report changes of fundus autofluorescence (AF) in patients with multiple soft drusen in correlation to visual function.

Methods: Inclusion criteria were age >50 years, the presence of soft drusen, visual acuity of 20/100 or better, and no previous laser treatment in the study eye. All patients underwent a detailed ophthalmological examination including ETDRS visual acuity, binocular funduscopy, and color fundus photography. AF imaging was performed with a confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope following a standard protocol. We used the classification of the International Fundus Autofluorescence Classification Group (IFAG) for the description of the AF patterns.

Results: One hundred and twenty-five patients (81 women, 44 men) aged from 55 to 86 years (mean 70+/-7 years) were included in this prospective study. During follow-up (mean 18+/-6 months), 6 of 35 eyes with patchy AF pattern developed exudative changes, as well as 2 eyes with focal-plaque-like AF pattern and 1 eye with reticular pattern at baseline. Geographic atrophy was seen in two eyes with focal AF pattern and one eye with focal-plaque-like pattern at baseline. A total of 11 eyes presented with severe visual loss (> or = 6 ETDRS lines). Ten (91%) of these had patchy AF pattern.

Conclusion: Imaging of fundus AF in patients with age-related maculopathy allows identification of different patterns of fundus AF. Our preliminary data suggest that a patchy pattern of AF indicates a relatively high risk of progression to age-related macular degeneration with visual loss.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fluorescence*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fundus Oculi*
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis*
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*