Optical coherence tomography angiography findings in laser maculopathy

Eur J Ophthalmol. 2017 Jan 19;27(1):e13-e15. doi: 10.5301/ejo.5000844.


Purpose: Handheld laser pointer thermal injury affects primarily the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). However, so far no study has reported on the possible effects of laser pointers in the deeper layers, beneath the RPE. Here, we describe the spectral-domain optical coherence tomography angiography findings in the choriocapillaris of a patient with laser maculopathy.

Methods: A 13-year-old boy presented to our department with decreased vision in the left eye 12 hours after having stared at the beam of a laser pointer.

Results: Structural optical coherence tomography (OCT) showed 2 focal hyperreflective columns at the fovea extending from the RPE, involving all outer retinal layers, and terminating at the outer plexiform layer. The patient also underwent OCT angiography (OCT-A), which in the choriocapillary segmentation revealed 2 hypointense lesions in correspondence of the focal hyperreflectivities detected on structural OCT. We hypothesize that the OCT-A findings could represent a rarefaction of the choriocapillaris. However, the choriocapillary OCT-A findings could also represent artifacts due to the overlaying hyperreflective lesions.

Conclusions: It is known that the RPE is primarily damaged by the laser injury. Our findings suggest that the thermal injury could involve also the choriocapillaris, and thus not limited to the RPE. Multimodal imaging in laser maculopathy including OCT-A may lead to a better comprehension of the pathogenesis of laser retinal damages.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Eye Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Eye Injuries / etiology*
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Lasers / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Retina / injuries*
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / pathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*
  • Visual Acuity