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Martin Gliem, Philipp L. Müller, Johannes Birtel, Doris Hendig, Frank G. Holz, Peter Charbel Issa; Frequency, Phenotypic Characteristics and Progression of Atrophy Associated With a Diseased Bruch's Membrane in Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(7):3323-3330. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-19388.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To characterize atrophy of the outer retina and the retinal pigment epithelium in patients with pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE).
In this retrospective cross-sectional study, the frequency and phenotypic characteristics of manifest atrophy were investigated in 276 eyes of 139 patients using color fundus photography, fundus autofluorescence (AF) imaging, and spectral domain optical coherence tomography. Progression rates of atrophy were quantified in eyes with longitudinal AF recordings.
Atrophy was present in 90 eyes (32%; mean age, 60; range, 32–88 years). In 19 eyes (7%; mean age, 56; range, 37–77 years) atrophy occurred without any signs for an active or fibrotic choroidal neovascularization (CNV). The frequency of both, atrophy and CNV, increased with age. In those > 60 years of age, atrophy and/or CNV were almost universally present but varied considerably in severity. Eyes with emerging pure atrophy (n = 13, no signs of CNV) showed pattern dystrophy-like changes (100%), reticular pseudodrusen (82%), and reduced choroidal thickness. Advanced atrophy was multifocal, reached beyond the arcades, and was present nasal to the optic disc. The average expansion rate of atrophy was 3.3 ± 1.3 and 1.6 ± 1.1 mm2/year (mean ± SD), in those without or with signs for CNV, respectively.
Atrophy of the outer retina and the retinal pigment epithelium is a common finding in PXE patients characterized by early onset and fast progression with subsequent visual loss independent from CNV. This suggests that atrophy is the natural endpoint of Bruch's membrane disease. Phenotypic similarities with multifactorial geographic atrophy in age-related macular degeneration suggest common pathogenic pathways at the level of Bruch's membrane.
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