The Light and the Dark of Early and Intermediate AMD: Cone- and Rod-Mediated Changes Are Linked to Fundus Photograph and FAF Abnormalities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Humza J Tahir
  • Jeremiah M Kelly


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the extent to which scotopic and photopic measures of visual function predict color fundus photograph (CFP) and fundus autofluorescence (FAF) changes in early and intermediate nonexudative AMD.

Methods: Sixty-nine observers were recruited: 56 AMD patients (mean age, 73 ± 12.98 years) and 13 controls (mean age, 67.77 ± 9.72 years). A nonmydriatic retinal camera was used to obtain stereo fundus photographs and FAF images were recorded with a cSLO Heidelberg Spectralis HRA+OCT. Visual acuity (VA) was measured using an Early Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy Study chart. Contrast sensitivity (CS) was assessed with a Pelli-Robson chart. Dark adaptation (DA) curves were recorded at 3° eccentricity using a PC-based technique. Analysis of these curves yielded five parameters: cone threshold (CT), cone time constant (CC), cone-rod break (α), slope of the second rod component (S2), and rod-rod break (β).

Results: Both cone and rod sensitivity recovery were grossly abnormal in the patients. The rod recovery slope (S2) most accurately predicted the fundus photograph-based grade and the FAF classification (ρ = 0.61 and ρ = 0.60, respectively; both P < 0.0001). CS showed a strong association with FAF (ρ = 0.50, P < 0.0001) and with fundus photograph-based grade (ρ = 0.38, P < 0.002). There was no correlation between VA and either imaging method.

Conclusions: Dynamic, rod-based measures most accurately reflect the severity of early AMD. Although less specific to AMD than DA changes, static photopic abnormalities such as CS also correspond with morphologic changes. Assessment of function in early AMD should include dynamic rod- and cone-mediated measurements of sensitivity recovery.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5070-5079
Number of pages10
JournalInvestigative ophthalmology & visual science
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019

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