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Oishi, Akio MD, PhD; Fang, Petra P. MD; Thiele, Sarah MD; Holz, Frank G. MD, FEBO; Krohne, Tim U. MD, FEBO

doi: 10.1097/IAE.0000000000001688
Original Study

Purpose: To investigate longitudinal changes of outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness in patients with retinal pigment epithelium tears secondary to neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

Methods: This is an institutional retrospective interventional case series. Twenty-six eyes of 22 patients with retinal pigment epithelium tears identified between April 2009 and March 2015. The patients underwent intravitreal injection of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents as needed. Volume scans of optical coherence tomography at first diagnosis of tear (baseline) and after 12 months were analyzed. Outer nuclear layer was segmented, and average ONL thickness inside the tear area, at the border of the tear, and in areas outside the tear was measured. Change of ONL thickness. We also explored several factors for their association with ONL thinning including tear area, number of treatments, and the duration with persistent subretinal fluid.

Results: Thinning of ONL was found in all the investigated areas (P < 0.01, respectively). Among the investigated factors, larger tear area was associated with greater ONL thinning outside the tear area (standardized β = −0.37, P = 0.030), and younger age was associated with greater ONL thinning inside the tear area (standardized β = 0.37, P = 0.041).

Conclusion: After an retinal pigment epithelium tear, thinning of ONL occurs in the area devoid of retinal pigment epithelium and also in adjacent areas. Few factors were predictive for the degree of ONL thinning. These results provide new insight in disease progression of this particular neovascular age-related macular degeneration subphenotype.

Eyes with retinal pigment epighelial tear showed longitudinal thinning of outer nuclear layer even outside the tear area. Meanwhile, evident thinning was not noted in approximately 20% of eyes even in the tear area. Few factors were predictive for the degree of outer nuclear layer thinning.

Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

Reprint requests: Tim U. Krohne, MD, FEBO, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Bonn, Ernst-Abbe-Straße 2, 53127 Bonn, Germany; e-mail:

The work of A. Oishi was supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, Germany and Alcon Japan, Tokyo, Japan. The study was partly supported by Novartis, Basel, Switzerland.

A. Oishi: Alcon Japan (Tokyo, Japan), Novartis (Basel, Switzerland), Bayer (Leverkusen, Germany), F; S. Thiele: Heidelberg Engineering, Optos, Zeiss, F; F. G. Holz, Heidelberg Engineering, Optos, Zeiss, F; Heidelberg Engineering, Zeiss, C; Heidelberg Engineering, R; T. U. Krohne: Alimera Sciences (Alpharetta, GA), Bayer, Heidelberg Engineering, Novartis, F. The remaining authors have no conflicting interests to disclose.

© 2018 by Ophthalmic Communications Society, Inc.