Background: A correlation of the clinical and histopathologic features of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), complicated by choroidal neovascular membrane (CNVM) with spontaneous tears of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) detachment, has not been reported.
Methods: Two patients with vision loss from AMD and spontaneous pigment epithelial detachment tears, involving the fovea with serous or hemorrhagic neurosensory retinal detachments, were examined clinically. The surgically excised CNVM from each patient was examined with light microscopy.
Results: The authors present two patients with clinicopathologic correlation of the ophthalmoscopic, fluorescein angiographic, and pathologic findings of spontaneous pigment epithelial detachment tears. In the surgical specimens from these two eyes, the removed tissue, presumed to be the spontaneous RPE tear with CNVMs, demonstrated a fibrovascular membrane surrounding RPE with adjacent abnormally thickened basement membrane. The RPE-basement membrane complex was folded redundantly and scrolled beneath itself.
Conclusion: The authors found RPE-basement membrane abnormalities and CNVMs associated with clinically evident spontaneous pigment epithelial detachment tears. These findings support the current theories of their pathogenesis.