Purpose: To determine whether photostress recovery time varies with severity of disease in age-related macular degeneration.
Methods: Photostress recovery time, visual acuity, and foveal retinal pigment epithelial atrophy were evaluated for the fellow eyes of 133 patients with unilateral neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Recovery times were measured by a method that flashed letters on a computer screen in random order before and after a 10 second bleach.
Results: Recovery times were delayed in 62% of the patients (including 47% of those with normal visual acuity), ranged up to 6 times the normal limit, and increased with advancing age (P < 0.0001). Photostress recovery time was inversely correlated with visual acuity (P < 0.0001) and longer in eyes with visible atrophy than in eyes without atrophy (P = 0.0007). Significant relationships between these two pairs of measures were also found after controlling for age.
Conclusion: These findings support previous evidence that the time for visual recovery after exposure to a glare source is commonly slowed in age-related macular degeneration even among patients with normal visual acuity and further show that it can vary with age and extent of disease.