The macular and peripapillary structural and vascular alterations in elderly patients with age-related choroidal atrophy may mimic glaucomatous degeneration.
To evaluate the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRNFL), macular nerve fiber layer (mNFL), ganglion cell layer (mGCL), inner plexiform layer (mIPL) thicknesses, and choroidal vascularity index (CVI) values in patients with age-related choroidal atrophy (ARCA) and to compare with the those of age and sex-matched healthy controls.
The cross-sectional, observational study included 95 eyes of 95 patients. The patients were divided into 2 groups according to subfoveal choroidal thickness (sCT) values. Forty eight eyes with sCT<125 µm constituted ARCA group (group 1), and 47 eyes with sCT>125 µm constituted control group (group 2). Peripapillary RNFL, mNFL, mGCL, mIPL, sCT values and fundus autofluorescence images were acquired with spectral domain-optical coherence tomography. Enhanced depth imaging mode spectral domain-optical coherence tomography images were binarized to show the luminal and stromal areas of choroid. CVI (%) was defined as the ratio of the luminal area to the total choroidal area with defined borders.
The mean age was 78.47±6.07 years in group 1 and 76.95±6.68 years in group 2. The mean, superior and inferior quadrants pRNFL thicknesses were significantly lower in group 1 than in group 2 (P<0.05 for all). The mean mNFL, mGCL, mIPL thickness values were also statistically lower in group 1 than group 2 (P<0.05 for all). The CVI value was 61.29±4.52 in group 1, and 64.81±3.80 in group 2 (P<0.001).
The patients with ARCA had decreased pRNFL, inner macular layer thickness and CVI values when compared with healthy control eyes. These findings should be considered in the differential diagnosis and the follow up of eyes with glaucoma.