A prospective study of reticular macular disease

Ophthalmology. 2011 Aug;118(8):1619-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.01.029. Epub 2011 May 6.


Purpose: To determine the risk of progression to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) conferred by reticular pseudodrusen (RPD), an imaging presentation of reticular macular disease (RMD), in high-risk fellow eyes of subjects with AMD and unilateral choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in a large, prospective study.

Design: Cohort study.

Participants: Two hundred seventy-one subjects with AMD; 94 with RPD and 177 without RPD.

Methods: Images from a cohort of 271 subjects with AMD in the Nutritional AMD treatment phase II (NAT 2) Study, a 3-year prospective study of subjects with unilateral CNV and large soft drusen in the fellow eye, were studied. The fellow eye, at high risk for advanced AMD developing, was the study eye. There were 5 visits per subject. Imaging at each visit consisted of color, red-free, and blue-light photography and fluorescein angiography. The images were analyzed for the presence of RPD, following disease progression throughout the 3-year study.

Main outcome measures: The development of advanced AMD (CNV or geographic atrophy).

Results: For the 271 subjects who completed the full 3-year study, there was a significantly higher rate of advanced AMD (56% or 53/94) in fellow eyes with RPD at any visit compared with eyes without RPD (32% or 56/177; P < 0.0001, chi-square test; relative risk [RR], 1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-2.4). The chance of developing advanced AMD in the fellow eye in women with RPD (66%) was more than double that of women without RPD (30%; P < 0.00001; RR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.6-3.1).

Conclusions: To the authors' knowledge, this is the first comprehensive prospective study of RMD, a distinct clinical phenotype of AMD that includes RPD. It provides strong confirmation that RMD, a disease entity with stereotypical presentations across imaging methods, is associated with a high risk of progression to advanced AMD, perhaps on an inflammatory or vascular basis. Reticular macular disease deserves wider recognition and consideration by clinicians caring for patients with AMD.

Financial disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / diagnosis
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / etiology*
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Geographic Atrophy / diagnosis
  • Geographic Atrophy / etiology*
  • Geographic Atrophy / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration / etiology*
  • Macular Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Drusen / complications*
  • Retinal Drusen / diagnosis
  • Retinal Drusen / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors