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Jonathan Li, Hao Zhou, Max Feinstein, Jessica Wong, Ruikang K. Wang, Lawrence Chan, Yining Dai, Travis Porco, Jacque L. Duncan, Daniel M. Schwartz; Choriocapillaris Changes in Myopic Macular Degeneration. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2022;11(2):37. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.11.2.37.
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Myopic macular degeneration (MMD) can cause irreversible vision loss. Thinner choroid is associated with increased MMD severity. This cross-sectional study analyzed choriocapillaris (CC) alterations in MMD.
Axial length (AL), best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), fundus photography, and swept-source optical coherence tomography angiography (SS-OCTA) were assessed in controls and high myopes (spherical equivalent ≤ −6 diopters). Myopic patients with grade 2 MMD (macular diffuse chorioretinal atrophy [MDCA]), high axial myopia (AL ≥ 26.5 mm), and BCVA ≥ 20/40 were compared with controls without MMD. CC mean thickness was measured from 3 × 3-mm SS-OCTA scans by identifying CC peaks in A-scan intensity profiles. CC flow deficit percent (CC FD%) was quantified using a fuzzy C-mean local thresholding method on en face OCTA images. Multivariate regressions compared CC thickness and CC FD% between myopic patients and controls, correcting for age and other confounders.
Sixteen eyes with MDCA (AL, 26.96–33.93 mm; ages, 40–78 years) were compared with 51 control eyes (AL, 21.65–25.84 mm; ages, 19–88 years). CC thickness in patients with MDCA was 66% lower than that in controls (5.23 ± 0.68 µm [mean ± SD] vs. 15.46 ± 1.82 µm; P < 0.001). CC FD% in patients with MDCA was 237% greater than in controls (26.5 ± 4.3 vs. 11.2 ± 4.6; P < 0.001).
Patients with MDCA with good visual acuity had thinner CC and increased CC FD%, or reduced CC flow, compared with controls. Patients with grade 2 MMD and good visual acuity demonstrated significant choriocapillaris alterations, suggesting that choriocapillaris perfusion defects contribute to the pathogenesis of MMD.
Given the potential vascular etiology for MMD, current research about revascularization of ischemic retina likely has implications for the treatment of MMD.
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