Fundus Autofluorescence Imaging in Macular Telangiectasia Type 2: MacTel Study Report Number 9

Am J Ophthalmol. 2021 Aug:228:27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2021.03.022. Epub 2021 Mar 26.


Purpose: To investigate the role of fundus autofluorescence (FAF) imaging in the diagnosis of macular telangiectasia type 2 (MacTel) and to describe disease-associated FAF patterns and their origin.

Design: Cross-sectional multicenter study METHODS: FAF images were collected from the multicenter MacTel Natural History Observation and Registry Study. In a first qualitative approach, common FAF phenotypes were defined and correlated with multimodal imaging. We then evaluated how many eyes showed FAF changes, and temporal vs nasal asymmetry of FAF changes was graded. Finally, 100 eyes of MacTel patients and 100 control eyes (50 normal eyes and 50 eyes with other macular diseases) were combined and 2 masked graders assessed the presence of MacTel based on FAF images alone.

Results: The study included 807 eyes of 420 patients (33 eyes were excluded owing to poor image quality). Loss of macular pigment, cystoid spaces, pigment plaques, neovascular membranes, and ectatic vascular changes commonly caused characteristic changes on FAF images. All MacTel patients had macular FAF changes in at least 1 eye. In 95% of eyes, these changes were more pronounced temporally than nasally. Common FAF patterns were increased (60%) and mixed/decreased FAF (38%) and/or visibility of vascular changes such as blunted vessels or ectatic capillaries (79%). Based on those features, high diagnostic performance was achieved for detection of the disease based on FAF alone (Youden index up to 0.91).

Conclusions: The study demonstrates that MacTel is consistently associated with disease-specific changes on FAF imaging. Those changes are typically more pronounced in the temporal parafovea.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods*
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / diagnostic imaging*
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Ophthalmoscopy / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Telangiectasis / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Telangiectasis / epidemiology
  • Retinal Vessels / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • Visual Acuity*

Supplementary concepts

  • Idiopathic Juxtafoveal Retinal Telangiectasia