Purpose: The purpose of this study is to correlate the clinical, angiographic and ultrastructural features of well-defined subfoveal neovascular membranes.
Methods: Fundus photographs and fluorescein angiograms of five well-defined subfoveal neovascular membranes associated with age-related macular degeneration and exudative retinal detachment were obtained. The subfoveal membranes were surgically excised via the pars plana. The center and peripheral portions of each membrane were evaluated by transmission electron microscopy for cellular and extracellular constituents.
Results: Each subretinal neovascular membrane was composed of two distinct regions demonstrated by fluorescein angiography. The first component, the core, contained a brighter central area of hyperfluorescent leakage surrounded by a partial or complete cuff of elevated blocked choroidal fluorescence. Results of ultrastructural examination showed that the core was composed of a fibrovascular membrane characterized by endothelium-lined vascular channels with associated retinal pigment epithelium. The second region of the membrane, the rim, is previously unreported and is described in detail. It appeared as a minimally elevated, smooth, subretinal annular rim of hyperfluorescent staining that surrounded the core and was composed of fibrin, photoreceptor outer segments, and macrophages.
Conclusions: Well-defined subfoveal neovascular membranes can be appreciated with fluorescein angiography and are composed of a central core of subfoveal choroidal neovascularization surrounded by a peripheral rim composed of fibrin, photoreceptor outer segments, and macrophages.