AMISH EYE STUDY: Baseline Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography Characteristics of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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To describe spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) findings in an Amish cohort to assess SD-OCT markers for early age-related macular degeneration (AMD).


The authors performed a family-based prospective cohort study of 1,146 elderly Amish subjects (age range 50–99 years) (2,292 eyes) who had a family history of at least 1 individual with AMD. All subjects underwent complete ophthalmic examinations, SD-OCT using both Cirrus and Spectralis (20 × 20° scan area) instruments, fundus autofluorescence, infrared imaging, and color fundus photography. Spectral domain optical coherence tomography characteristics were analyzed in subjects with AMD (with and without subretinal drusenoid deposits [SDDs]) and normal healthy cohorts.


Participants' mean age was 65.2 years (SD ± 11). Color fundus photographic findings in 596 (53%) subjects (1,009 eyes) were consistent with AMD; the remaining 478 (43%) subjects showed no signs of AMD. The choroid was significantly thinner on OCT (242 ± 76 µm, P < 0.001) in those with AMD compared with those without (263 ± 63 µm). Subretinal drusenoid deposits were found in 143 eyes (7%); 11 of the 143 eyes (8%) had no other manifestations of AMD. Drusen volume (P < 0.001) and area of geographic atrophy (P < 0.001) were significantly greater, and choroid was significantly (P < 0.001) thinner in subjects with SDDs versus those without SDDs.


The authors describe spectral domain optical coherence tomography characteristics in an elderly Amish population with and without AMD, including the frequency of SDD. Although relatively uncommon in this population, the authors confirmed that SDDs can be found in the absence of other features of AMD and that eyes with SDDs have thinner choroids.

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