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A. Grac, W. Geitzenauer, U. Schmidt-Erfurth; Retinal Pigment Epithelium Changes in Clinically Normal Eyes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):5264.
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High-resolution optical coherence tomography (OCT) usage offers new possibilities to investigate retinal microstructure. The chances of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) alterations in the macular region increase with age. Even in eyes without clinically diagnosed age-related maculopathy or similar conditions changes can often be seen with spectral domain OCT instruments. Aim of the study was to show the occurrence of typical changes of the RPE in a series of subjects without symptoms of metamorphopsia or vision loss at different age-categories.
100 subjects in 7 age-categories were examined with a commercial spectral-domain high-resolution OCT instrument (Spectralis®, Heidelberg Engineering Inc.) in a 20° by 20° field of the macular region. Volume scans with 49 horizontal scans each were obtained from both eyes for each participant. Only one eye per subject was included. In case of equal visual acuity in both eyes, random allocation was assigned for the study eye. Evaluation of distinct changes of the RPE which were categorized prior to the study were recorded for each scan and the total number of changes per eye were noted.
In the lowest age-groups retinal pigment epithelium changes were rarely seen. As expected, the frequency of distinct RPE changes per eye increased by age. This could be observed for very subtle changes that were not detectable with previous generation OCT instruments as well as for typical changes like drusen.
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