Natural History of Subclinical Neovascularization in Nonexudative Age-Related Macular Degeneration Using Swept-Source OCT Angiography

João R. de Oliveira Dias, Qinqin Zhang, José M.B. Garcia, Fang Zheng, Elie H. Motulsky, Luiz Roisman, Andrew Miller, Chieh Li Chen, Sophie Kubach, Luis de Sisternes, Mary K. Durbin, William Feuer, Ruikang K. Wang, Giovanni Gregori, Philip J. Rosenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Purpose: Swept-source (SS) OCT angiography (OCTA) was used to determine the prevalence, incidence, and natural history of subclinical macular neovascularization (MNV) in eyes with nonexudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Design: Prospective, observational, consecutive case series. Participants: Patients with intermediate AMD (iAMD) or geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to nonexudative AMD in 1 eye and exudative AMD in the fellow eye. Methods: All patients were imaged using both the 3×3 mm and 6×6 mm SS OCTA fields of view (PLEX Elite 9000; Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc, Dublin, CA). The en face slab used to detect the MNV extended from the outer retina to the choriocapillaris, and projection artifacts were removed using a proprietary algorithm. Main Outcome Measures: Prevalence of subclinical MNV and time to exudation with Kaplan-Meier cumulative estimates of exudation at 1 year. Results: From August 2014 through March 2017, 160 patients underwent SS OCTA (110 eyes with iAMD and 50 eyes with GA). Swept-source OCTA identified subclinical MNV at the time of first imaging in 23 of 160 eyes, for a prevalence of 14.4%. Six eyes demonstrated subclinical MNV during the follow-up. Of 134 eyes with follow-up visits, a total of 13 eyes demonstrated exudation, and of these 13 eyes, 10 eyes were found to have pre-existing subclinical MNV. By 12 months, the Kaplan-Meier cumulative incidence of exudation for all 134 eyes was 6.8%. For eyes with subclinical MNV at the time of first SS OCTA imaging, the incidence was 21.1%, and for eyes without subclinical MNV, the incidence was 3.6%. There was no difference in the cumulative incidence of exudation from pre-existing MNV in eyes with iAMD or GA (P = 0.847, log-rank test). After the detection of subclinical MNV, the risk of exudation was 15.2 times (95% confidence interval, 4.2–55.4) greater compared with eyes without subclinical MNV. Conclusions: By 12 months, the risk of exudation was greater for eyes with documented subclinical MNV compared with eyes without detectable MNV. For eyes with subclinical MNV, recommendations include more frequent follow-up and home monitoring. Intravitreal therapy is not recommended until prospective studies are performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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