Objective: To describe the autofluorescence (AF) characteristics of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in patients with age-related macular degeneration.
Methods: Autofluorescence images of 65 consecutive eyes with CNV at various stages of evolution were analyzed. Twenty images were of recent-onset CNV (group 1), 8 were of eyes 1 to 6 months after CNV diagnosis (group 2), and 37 were late-stage CNV (group 3). Autofluorescence images from groups 1 and 2 were compared with fundus fluorescein angiographic images.
Results: Group 1 showed areas of hyperfluorescence on fundus fluorescein angiography corresponding to areas of normal AF in 16 of 20 cases, with adjacent areas of increased AF in 13 cases. The main areas of abnormal AF were larger than the main areas of abnormal fluorescence on fundus fluorescein angiography in 18 of the 20 cases. Groups 2 and 3 showed areas of decreased AF corresponding to areas of previous leakage on fundus fluorescein angiography (in group 2) or atrophy.
Conclusions: Preserved AF in group 1 indicates viable retinal pigment epithelium initially, which has implications for visual prognosis. Decreased AF in groups 2 and 3 indicates loss of retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptors. Autofluorescence imaging may increase our understanding of CNV in age-related macular degeneration.