CLINICOPATHOLOGIC CORRELATION OF GEOGRAPHIC ATROPHY SECONDARY TO AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION


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Abstract

Purpose:In an eye with geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration, we correlated ex vivo histologic features with findings recorded in vivo using optical coherence tomography (OCT), near-infrared reflectance imaging, and fundus autofluorescence.Methods:In the left eye of an 86-year-old white woman, in vivo near-infrared reflectance and eye-tracked OCT B-scans at each of 6 clinic visits and a baseline fundus autofluorescence image were correlated with high-resolution histologic images of the preserved donor eye.Results:Clinical imaging showed a small parafoveal multilobular area of GA, subfoveal soft drusen, refractile drusen, hyperreflective lines near the Bruch membrane, subretinal drusenoid deposit (reticular pseudodrusen), and absence of hyperautofluorescent foci at the GA margin. By histology, soft drusen end-stages included avascular fibrosis with highly reflective cholesterol crystals. These accounted for hyperreflective lines near the Bruch membrane in OCT and plaques in near-infrared reflectance imaging. Subretinal drusenoid deposit was thick, continuous, extracellular, extensive outside the fovea, and associated with distinctive retinal pigment epithelium dysmorphia and photoreceptor degeneration. A hyporeflective wedge corresponded to ordered Henle fibers without cellular infiltration. The external limiting membrane descent, which delimits GA, was best visualized in high-quality OCT B-scans. Retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptor changes at the external limiting membrane descent were consistent with our recent histologic survey of donor eyes.Conclusion:This case informs on the extent, topography, and lifecycle of extracellular deposits. High-quality OCT scans are required to reveal all tissue features relevant to age-related macular degeneration progression to GA, especially the external limiting membrane descent. Histologically validated signatures of structural OCT B-scans can serve as references for other imaging modalities.

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