Correlation of retinal alterations with vascular structure of macular neovascularisation in swept-source optical coherence tomography angiography in age-related macular degeneration

Int Ophthalmol. 2022 May;42(5):1553-1562. doi: 10.1007/s10792-021-02149-6. Epub 2022 Jan 13.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to find out whether the vascular architecture of untreated macular neovascularisations (MNV) in neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) as visualised with optic coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) is associated with functional and known morphological alterations of the retina in optic coherence tomography (SD-OCT).

Methods: The study design was retrospective with consecutive patient inclusion. In 107 patients with newly diagnosed nAMD, MNV were detected by means of OCTA and automated quantitative vascular analysis was performed. The MNV characteristics measured were area, flow density, total vascular length (sumL), density of vascular nodes (numN), fractal dimension (FD) and average vascular width (avgW). These parameters were assessed for associations with vision (BCVA), central retinal thickness (CRT), fluid distribution, the elevation of any pigment epithelial detachment (PED), the occurrence of subretinal haemorrhage and atrophy.

Results: BCVA was significantly worse with greater MNV area and sumL. Fluid distribution differed significantly in relation to area (p < 0.005), sumL (p < 0.005) and FD (p = 0.001). Greater PED height was significantly associated with higher numN (p < 0.05) and lower avgW (p < 0.05). Atrophy was present significantly more often in MNV with larger area (p < 0.05), higher sumL (p < 0.05) and higher flow density (p = 0.002). None of the MNV parameters had a significant association with CRT or the occurrence of haemorrhage.

Conclusion: OCTA is not restricted to evaluation of secondary changes but offers the opportunity to analyse the vascular structure of MNV in detail. Differences in vascular morphology are associated with certain secondary changes in retinal morphology. There are thus grounds for optimism that further research may identify and classify OCTA-based markers to permit more individualised treatment of nAMD.

Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration; Choroidal neovascularization; Imaging; MNV-morphology; OCT-angiography.

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Choroidal Neovascularization* / diagnosis
  • Choroidal Neovascularization* / drug therapy
  • Fluorescein Angiography / methods
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration* / complications
  • Macular Degeneration* / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration* / pathology
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Detachment* / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • Wet Macular Degeneration* / complications
  • Wet Macular Degeneration* / diagnosis


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors