Purpose: To determine the prevalence of reticular pseudodrusen (RPD) in eyes with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), assess the role of RPD as an independent risk factor for late AMD development, and evaluate genetic association with RPD.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Participants: Participants with intermediate AMD in 1 or both eyes enrolled in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), a 5-year multicenter study of nutritional supplement.
Methods: Fundus autofluorescence (FAF) images from a subset of AREDS2 participants were evaluated at annual visits for presence of RPD. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms-rs10490924 (ARMS2), rs1061170 (CFH), rs2230199 (C3), rs116503776 and rs114254831 (C2/CFB), and rs943080 (VEGF-A)-and the genetic risk score (GRS) were assessed for association with RPD. Development of late AMD, defined as geographic atrophy (GA) or neovascular AMD (NVAMD), was identified.
Main outcome measures: Prevalence of RPD, odds ratio (OR) of late AMD development, and genetic associations of RPD.
Results: The FAF images were evaluated for 5021 eyes (2516 participants). Reticular pseudodrusen were seen in 1186 eyes (24% of eyes, 29% of participants). Prevalence of RPD varied with baseline AREDS AMD severity level: 6% in early AMD (n = 458), 26% in intermediate AMD (n = 2606), 36% in GA (n = 682), and 19% in NVAMD (n = 1246). Mean age of participants with RPD was 79 years (standard deviation [SD], 7) and 75 years (SD, 8) in those without RPD (P < 0.0001). Reticular pseudodrusen were more frequent in female participants (65% RPD vs. 53% no RPD). Odds ratio adjusted for baseline age, gender, race, educational status, smoking, and AMD severity level for 1710 eyes at risk of developing late AMD at the next annual visit was 2.42 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.80-3.24; P < 0.001) for GA and 1.21 (95% CI, 0.87-1.7; P = 0.26) for NVAMD. Presence of RPD was significantly associated with higher GRS (P < 0.0001) and ARMS2 risk alleles (P < 0.0001) and, at a nominal level, with C3 risk alleles (P = 0.04) and CFH risk alleles (P = 0.048 for homozygotes).
Conclusions: Participants with RPD have an increased risk of progression to GA but not NVAMD. ARMS2 risk alleles and higher GRS were associated with the presence of RPD. This study suggests that RPD are an important risk marker and should be included in classification systems used for patient prognosis.
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