Non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration with subretinal fluid

Br J Ophthalmol. 2021 Oct;105(10):1415-1420. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2020-317326. Epub 2020 Sep 12.


Purpose: To evaluate the various patterns of subretinal fluid (SRF) in eyes with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the absence of macular neovascularisation (MNV) and to assess the long-term outcomes in these eyes.

Methods: This retrospective study included only eyes with non-neovascular AMD and associated SRF. Eyes with evidence of MNV were excluded. Spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) was obtained at baseline and at follow-up, and qualitative and quantitative SD-OCT analysis of macular drusen including drusenoid pigment epithelial detachment (PED) and associated SRF was performed to determine anatomic outcomes.

Results: Forty-five eyes (45 patients) were included in this analysis. Mean duration of follow-up was 49.7±36.7 months. SRF exhibited three different morphologies: crest of fluid over the apex of the drusenoid PED, pocket of fluid at the angle of a large druse or in the crypt of confluent drusen or drape of low-lying fluid over confluent drusen. Twenty-seven (60%) of the 45 eyes with fluid displayed collapse of the associated druse or drusenoid PED and 24 (53%) of the 45 eyes developed evidence of complete or incomplete retinal pigment epithelial and outer retinal atrophy.

Conclusion: Non-neovascular AMD with SRF is an important clinical entity to recognise to avoid unnecessary anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy. Clinicians should be aware that SRF can be associated with drusen or drusenoid PED in the absence of MNV and may be the result of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) decompensation and RPE pump failure.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Choroid; Degeneration; Macula; Retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intravitreal Injections
  • Macular Degeneration* / drug therapy
  • Retinal Detachment / diagnosis
  • Retinal Detachment / drug therapy
  • Retinal Drusen / diagnosis
  • Retinal Pigments / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subretinal Fluid* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Visual Acuity
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / drug therapy


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Retinal Pigments
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A