Quantitative Autofluorescence Intensities in Acute Zonal Occult Outer Retinopathy vs Healthy Eyes

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Abstract

Importance

Acute zonal occult outer retinopathy (AZOOR) remains a challenging diagnosis. Early recognition of the disease depends on advances in imaging modalities that can improve phenotyping and contribute to the understanding of the underlying pathogenesis.

Objectives

To expand the range of approaches available to assist in the identification of AZOOR by multimodal imaging and to analyze the fundus lesions by quantifying short-wavelength fundus autofluorescence (quantitative fundus autofluorescence [qAF]) and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography.

Design, Setting, and Participants

In this observational study, patients underwent imaging at Columbia University Medical Center between November 2010 and March 2016 and were analyzed between September 2015 and August 2016. Six patients diagnosed as having AZOOR were studied by qAF and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography and were compared with 30 age and race/ethnicity–matched controls from a database of 277 healthy control eyes.

Main Outcomes and Measures

In unaffected regions of the macula, qAF was calculated within predetermined circularly arranged segments (qAF8). In addition, qAF was measured within specified regions of interest positioned at the autofluorescent lesion border (AZOOR line). Electroretinograms and electro-oculograms were recorded in 5 of 6 patients.

Results

Among 6 patients (age range, 26-61 years; 4 female; 4 of white race/ethnicity, 1 Asian, and 1 Hispanic), 5 exhibited an autofluorescent AZOOR line in short-wavelength fundus autofluorescence images, delineating the peripapillary lesion. The mean (SD) region-of-interest qAF measured on the AZOOR line was 60 (26) times higher than in healthy control eyes (P = .03) at equivalent fundus locations. The qAF8 within nondiseased macular regions were within the normal range. At the lesion border, spectral-domain optical coherence tomography revealed a loss of outer retinal integrity in all patients. Single-flash cone b-wave latency and 30-Hz flicker latency responses were significantly delayed bilaterally. Lesions with smooth, homogeneous borders exhibited only minimal expansion in size over time, while the lesion in a patient with a heterogeneous border progressed more rapidly.

Conclusions and Relevance

The finding that qAF is elevated at the border between diseased and nondiseased retina in patients with AZOOR contributes to the understanding of the natural history of the disease.

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