Association between foveal microstructure and visual outcome in age-related macular degeneration

Retina. 2011 Sep;31(8):1627-36. doi: 10.1097/IAE.0b013e31820d3d01.


Purpose: To investigate the correlation between foveal photoreceptor integrity and final visual acuity after treatment of eyes with neovascular age-related macular degeneration, and to determine the visual prognostic factors.

Methods: We retrospectively studied 40 eyes of 40 patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration who were treated successfully with intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injection. Using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, the eyes were categorized into three groups at the final visit, the V group with a completely visible photoreceptor inner and outer segment junction (IS/OS), the P group with a partially detected IS/OS, and the I group with an invisible IS/OS. The length of disrupted IS/OS and external limiting membrane, central macular thickness, and choroidal neovascularization size at the initial and final visits were measured. Retinal pigment epithelium regularity and outer nuclear layer thickness at the final visit were also evaluated.

Results: Final visual acuity was closely associated with IS/OS integrity at the final visit. Final visual acuity (logarithm of minimum angle of resolution) in the V group (0.13 ± 0.10) was better than that in the P group (0.41 ± 0.31), and final visual acuity in the P group was better than that in the I group (0.97 ± 0.51) (P < 0.001). Shorter disrupted IS/OS and external limiting membrane length at the final visit were closely associated with better final visual acuity. Preservation of the IS/OS and external limiting membrane, thinner central macular thickness, and shorter choroidal neovascularization height before treatment were associated with intact photoreceptor integrity after resolution of exudation. However, central macular thickness, outer nuclear layer thickness, and retinal pigment epithelium regularity at the final visit had no significant correlation with photoreceptor integrity.

Conclusion: Foveal photoreceptor integrity was closely associated with final visual acuity in neovascular age-related macular degeneration after treatment. Initial visual acuity, IS/OS and external limiting membrane integrity, central macular thickness, and choroidal neovascularization height were correlated with final photoreceptor integrity, and they would be visual prognostic factors after resolution of exudation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Bevacizumab
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fovea Centralis
  • Humans
  • Intravitreal Injections
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / pathology*
  • Ranibizumab
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / physiopathology*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Bevacizumab
  • Ranibizumab