Macular Atrophy of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium in Patients with Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration: What is the Link? Part I: A Review of Disease Characterization and Morphological Associations

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Introduction: The purpose of this review was to explore the potential link between macular atrophy (MA) of the retinal pigment epithelium in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) with the disease characteristics and morphological features. Methods: To this end, we performed a search of peer-reviewed articles published on the PubMed database and included all relevant papers. We then examined these papers for possible risk factors for MA development in the context of nAMD treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs, as well as possible protective factors. Results: Our review of the relevant publications revealed that areas of MA can be directly visualized through multiple imaging modalities. Associations have been identified between MA of the retinal pigment epithelium and choroidal neovascular membrane characteristics, intra- and subretinal fluid, pigment epithelial detachment, choroidal thickness, subretinal hyperreflective material, outer retinal tubulations, hemorrhage, subretinal drusenoid deposits, refractile drusen, hyperreflective foci, retinal angiomatous proliferation, polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy, geographic atrophy in the fellow eye, genetic factors, and age. Conclusion: The findings of this review indicate that a multimodal approach is recommended for the assessment of MA. The conclusions drawn to date on the correlation between MA development or progression of MA and specific risk factors and possible protective factors are mixed. More clinical research is needed to reach a better understanding of this association.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages15
JournalOphthalmology and therapy
Issue number2
Early online date25 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019