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.
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