Long-term pattern of progression of myopic maculopathy: a natural history study

Ophthalmology. 2010 Aug;117(8):1595-611, 1611.e1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.11.003. Epub 2010 Mar 5.


Objective: To investigate the long-term progression pattern of myopic maculopathy and to determine the visual prognosis of each progression stage.

Design: Retrospective, observational case series.

Participants: The medical records of 806 eyes of 429 consecutive patients with high myopia (refractive error more than -8.00 diopters [D] or axial length > or =26.5 mm) who were followed for 5-32 years were reviewed.

Methods: Participants had complete ophthalmological examinations including best-corrected visual acuity, axial length measurements, fluorescein angiography, and color fundus photography, at least once a year. The presence and type of posterior staphyloma was determined by binocular stereoscopic ophthalmoscopy. The types of myopic maculopathy included tessellated fundus, lacquer cracks, diffuse chorioretinal atrophy, patchy chorioretinal atrophy, choroidal neovascularization (CNV), and macular atrophy. None of the patients had received any type of treatment for the maculopathy.

Main outcome measures: The longitudinal long-term progression pattern and the visual prognosis of each type of fundus lesion.

Results: During the mean follow-up of 12.7 years, 327 of the 806 highly myopic eyes (40.6%) showed a progression of the myopic maculopathy. The most commonly observed patterns were from tessellated fundus to the development of diffuse atrophy and lacquer cracks, an increase in the width and progression to patchy atrophy in eyes with lacquer cracks, an enlargement of the diffuse atrophy, and the development of patchy atrophy in eyes with diffuse atrophy, and an enlargement and fusion of patches of atrophic areas in eyes with patchy atrophy. Eyes with tessellated fundus, lacquer cracks, diffuse atrophy and patchy atrophy at the initial examination progressed to the development of CNV. Eyes with CNV developed macular atrophy. The fusion of patchy atrophy, the development of CNV, and macular atrophy all led to significant visual decreases. A posterior staphyloma was observed more frequently in eyes that showed progression from tessellated fundus, diffuse atrophy, and patchy atrophy than those without a progression.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that myopic maculopathy tends to progress in approximately 40% of highly myopic eyes, and the pattern of progression affects the visual prognosis. Preventive therapy targeting posterior staphyloma should be considered to prevent the visual impairment caused by the progression of myopic maculopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myopia, Degenerative / diagnosis*
  • Myopia, Degenerative / physiopathology
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Prognosis
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Visual Acuity / physiology