Optical coherence tomography changes before the development of choroidal neovascularization in second eyes of patients with bilateral wet macular degeneration

Eye (Lond). 2012 Mar;26(3):394-9. doi: 10.1038/eye.2011.335. Epub 2011 Dec 23.


Aim: To describe the frequency of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) in second eyes of patients undergoing ranibizumab therapy in their first eye and to evaluate the patterns of optical coherence tomography (OCT) abnormalities in fellow eyes before nAMD.

Method: Patients who developed choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in the second eye while on treatment for the first eye were identified. OCT scans of the second eyes, performed before the onset of CNV, were retrospectively examined and graded. Frequency of second eye involvement was estimated and patterns of progression of OCT abnormalities were described and classified.

Results: In all, 65 out of 749 consecutive patients required ranibizumab in their second eye for treatment-naïve nAMD over a 2-year period. The mean interval from commencement of ranibizumab in first eye to conversion in second eye was 12 months (2-35.5 months). There were three patterns of CNV development: group A (12%, n=8) had no OCT abnormalities in the second eye just before developing CNV; group B (38%, n=25) had no abnormalities at baseline but developed OCT changes more than one visit before conversion and group C (50%, n=32) had OCT changes from baseline, which did not progress until just before conversion.

Conclusion: Patients with retinal pigment epithelial elevation without sub-retinal fluid on OCT in their fellow eyes have a high risk of progression to require therapy within a 2-year period. An anticipatory approach may be warranted, but a small group with completely normal OCT appearances can still develop lesions between visits.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / epidemiology
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Macular Degeneration / epidemiology
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology*
  • Male
  • Ranibizumab
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Ranibizumab