Imaging of a retinal pigment epithelium aperture using polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography

Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2021 Jan;65(1):30-41. doi: 10.1007/s10384-020-00787-4. Epub 2020 Nov 10.


Purpose: To evaluate cases with a retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) aperture using polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT).

Study design: Retrospective consecutive case series.

Methods: A retrospective study that included three eyes (three patients) with RPE aperture and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) evaluated at the Macular Clinic in Tokyo University Hospital. A three-dimensional dataset of depolarization information was obtained with a clinical prototype of PS-OCT.

Results: All patients were categorized as intermediate AMD. RPE apertures were identified with PS-OCT as discontinuities of depolarization in the RPE layer of the pigment epithelial detachment (PED). A nonuniform decrease of depolarization in the RPE layer was also observed around the aperture. Two findings were observed above the aperture, intraretinal focal areas with high reflectivity and increased depolarization and subretinal bands with moderate reflectivity and low depolarization. Retinal sensitivity according to fundus microperimetry measured at 25 points was significantly associated with the degree of depolarization at the corresponding area (r-square = 0.60, p = 0.0001).

Conclusion: The RPE aperture was characterized as a round discontinuity of depolarization. The findings with PS-OCT suggest atrophic changes in the overlying RPE of the PED. The degree of depolarization was associated with retinal sensitivity. The current results indicate that RPE apertures developed within the spectrum of atrophic AMD.

Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration; Aperture; Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography; Retinal pigment epithelium.

MeSH terms

  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration* / diagnosis
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*