Prevalence of Subretinal Drusenoid Deposits in Older Persons with and without Age-Related Macular Degeneration, by Multimodal Imaging

Academic Article


  • Purpose To assess the prevalence of subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDD) in older adults with healthy maculas and early and intermediate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) using multimodal imaging. Design Cross-sectional study. Participants A total of 651 subjects aged ≥60 years enrolled in the Alabama Study of Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration from primary care ophthalmology clinics. Methods Subjects were imaged using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD OCT) of the macula and optic nerve head (ONH), infrared reflectance, fundus autofluorescence, and color fundus photographs (CFP). Eyes were assessed for AMD presence and severity using the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) 9-step scale. Criteria for SDD presence were identification on ≥1 en face modality plus SD OCT or on ≥2 en face modalities if absent on SD OCT. Subretinal drusenoid deposits were considered present at the person level if present in 1 or both eyes. Main Outcome Measures Prevalence of SDD in participants with and without AMD. Results Overall prevalence of SDD was 32% (197/611), with 62% (122/197) affected in both eyes. Persons with SDD were older than those without SDD (70.6 vs. 68.7 years, P = 0.0002). Prevalence of SDD was 23% in subjects without AMD and 52% in subjects with AMD (P < 0.0001). Among those with early and intermediate AMD, SDD prevalence was 49% and 79%, respectively. After age adjustment, those with SDD were 3.4 times more likely to have AMD than those without SDD (95% confidence interval, 2.3-4.9). By using CFP only for SDD detection per the AREDS protocol, prevalence of SDD was 2% (12/610). Of persons with SDD detected by SD OCT and confirmed by at least 1 en face modality, 47% (89/190) were detected exclusively on the ONH SD OCT volume. Conclusions Subretinal drusenoid deposits are present in approximately one quarter of older adults with healthy maculae and in more than half of persons with early to intermediate AMD, even by stringent criteria. The prevalence of SDD is strongly associated with AMD presence and severity and increases with age, and its retinal topography including peripapillary involvement resembles that of rod photoreceptors. Consensus on SDD detection methods is recommended to advance our knowledge of this lesion and its clinical and biologic significance.
  • Published In

  • Ophthalmology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zarubina AV; Neely DC; Clark ME; Huisingh CE; Samuels BC; Zhang Y; McGwin G; Owsley C; Curcio CA
  • Start Page

  • 1090
  • End Page

  • 1100
  • Volume

  • 123
  • Issue

  • 5