Indocyanine green angiography of drusen

Am J Ophthalmol. 1997 Sep;124(3):344-56. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)70826-8.


Purpose: To analyze the indocyanine green angiographic findings of drusen in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration.

Methods: Sixty-nine eyes of 53 consecutive patients with drusen but without exudative complications of age-related macular degeneration were studied. Drusen were classified into four groups: hard drusen, drusen derived from clusters of hard drusen (hard cluster-derived drusen and soft cluster-derived drusen), membranous drusen, and regressing drusen. An additional category was constituted by reticular pseudodrusen that could be associated with drusen of either the inner or outer macula. Results of contact lens biomicroscopy and fluorescein angiography were compared with findings on indocyanine green angiography.

Results: Hard drusen, either isolated hard drusen or hard cluster-derived drusen, were hyperfluorescent during indocyanine green angiography; in contrast, all sizes of soft drusen derived from clusters of hard drusen were hypofluorescent throughout the angiogram. Membranous drusen, visible on biomicroscopy and fluorescein angiography, were not visible during indocyanine green angiography. Regressing drusen may have showed hyperfluorescence at the early stages of indocyanine green angiography, but associated calcium and pigmentation were hypofluorescent. Reticular pseudodrusen were visible on red-free photographs; on midphase and late-phase indocyanine green angiography using the scanning laser ophthalmoscope only, reticular pseudodrusen were seen as a pattern of hypofluorescent dots.

Conclusion: The indocyanine green angiographic findings add to and support the clinicopathologic classification of drusen. Indocyanine green angiography may help to distinguish the different types of drusen and may thus be of use in evaluating the risk of progressive age-related macular degeneration in patients with drusen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Coloring Agents*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography*
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green*
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rabbits
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Drusen / classification
  • Retinal Drusen / pathology*


  • Coloring Agents
  • Indocyanine Green