Long-term anatomical and functional findings of solar maculopathy

Ir J Med Sci. 2024 Feb;193(1):435-441. doi: 10.1007/s11845-023-03434-2. Epub 2023 Jun 29.


Background: Solar maculopathy (SM) is a rare cause of acquired maculopathy related to direct viewing of the sun. Primary symptoms include central scotomata, blurred vision and/or metamorphopsia due to thermal/photochemical damage to foveal photoreceptors.

Methods: Patients were identified from clinic records surrounding a solar eclipse. Clinical examination and multimodal retinal imaging were performed at each follow-up visit. Informed consent was provided by each patient for publication of anonymized data.

Results: Seven affected eyes of 4 patients (mean 21.75 years, all female) were identified with mean presenting visual acuity (VA) of LogMAR 0.18. Well-defined photoreceptor ellipsoid zone (EZ) defects were identified on optical coherence tomography (OCT) for all eyes. VA improved for all eyes (median 12 letter improvement) over a mean 5.7-year follow-up (range 5 months to 11 years).

Conclusions: While no effective treatment has been identified for SM, VA can significantly improve in some cases, but persistent scotomata are reported and may be debilitating; thus, prevention by public health measures remains critical.

Keywords: Natural history; Optical coherence tomography; Solar maculopathy; Solar retinopathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration*
  • Retinal Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Retinal Diseases* / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sunlight
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • Visual Acuity