The association between subretinal drusenoid deposits in older adults in normal macular health and incident age-related macular degeneration

Academic Article


  • PURPOSE. Subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDD) have been associated with the progression to late age-related macular degeneration (AMD). To determine whether SDD in eyes in normal macular health increases risk for early AMD, this study examined the association between presence of SDD at baseline in a cohort of older adults in normal macular health and incident AMD 3 years later. METHODS. Subjects enrolled in the Alabama Study on Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ALSTAR) were assessed for the presence of SDD using color fundus photos, infrared reflectance and fundus autofluorescence images, and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography volumes. The study sample included 799 eyes from 455 participants in normal macular health per grading of color fundus photographs using the 9-step Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) classification system. Age-related macular degeneration was defined as eyes having an AREDS grade ≥2 at the 3-year follow-up. RESULTS. Twenty-five percent of participants had SDD in one or both eyes at baseline. At follow-up visit, 11.9% of eyes in the sample developed AMD. Compared to eyes without SDD, those with SDD were 2.24 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.36–3.70) times more likely to have AMD at follow-up. After adjusting for age, C-reactive protein quartile, and family history of AMD, the association persisted. CONCLUSIONS. Results suggest that SDD in older eyes with normal macular health as defined by the AREDS scale is a risk factor for the development of early AMD. Older adults in seemingly normal macular health yet having SDD may warrant closer clinical monitoring for the possible onset of early AMD.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Huisingh C; McGwin G; Neely D; Zarubina A; Clark M; Zhang Y; Curcio CA; Owsley C
  • Start Page

  • 739
  • End Page

  • 745
  • Volume

  • 57
  • Issue

  • 2