The expanded spectrum of focal choroidal excavation

Arch Ophthalmol. 2011 Oct;129(10):1320-5. doi: 10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.148. Epub 2011 Jun 13.


Objective: To describe the clinical and imaging findings in patients with focal choroidal excavation.

Methods: Retrospective observational case series. The medical records of 12 patients (13 eyes) with focal choroidal excavation were reviewed. Clinical histories and imaging findings (including color photography, fundus autofluorescence imaging, fluorescein angiography, indocyanine green angiography, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, and enhanced depth imaging spectral-domain optical coherence tomography) were analyzed.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 45 years (range, 22-62 years). Four patients were Asian. Mean visual acuity was 20/31 (range, 20/20 to 20/100). Mean refractive error was -3.54 diopters (D) (range, 6.00 to -8.00 D). One patient had bilateral involvement. All patients manifested varying degrees of foveal pigmentary changes that were usually hypoautofluorescent on fundus autofluorescence images. Fluorescein angiographic findings varied with degree of retinal pigment epithelial alterations. Indocyanine green angiography revealed relative hypofluorescence. In 7 eyes, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography revealed outer retinal layers conforming to retinal pigment epithelial alterations within the excavation. In the other 6 eyes, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography revealed a separation between the outer retina and the retinal pigment epithelium within the excavation. In 7 eyes studied with enhanced depth imaging spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, there was no evidence of scleral ectasia. Mean choroidal thickness of the uninvolved choroid was thicker than normal at 319 μm (range, 244-439 μm). All lesions remained stable except for in 1 eye, which had findings of central serous chorioretinopathy and secondary type 2 (subretinal) neovascularization.

Conclusion: Focal choroidal excavation is a newly described idiopathic entity in eyes having 1 or more focal areas of choroidal excavation. In some patients, there may be an association with central serous chorioretinopathy. Although most lesions remain stable, secondary choroidal neovascularization may occur.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Central Serous Chorioretinopathy / diagnosis
  • Choroid Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Choroid Diseases / physiopathology
  • Coloring Agents
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sclera / pathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Coloring Agents
  • Indocyanine Green