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Ophthalmology. 1989 Mar;96(3):375-81.

Diminished foveal sensitivity may predict the development of advanced age-related macular degeneration.

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Laboratory of Physiological Optics, Wilmer Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Visual function testing was performed on one eye with drusen from each of 18 elderly patients in 1984. Eleven patients had advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the fellow eye, and seven had only bilateral drusen. These patients were all followed prospectively (median, 45 months), at which time one eye had a new vessel membrane, three eyes had pigment epithelial detachments, and one eye had geographic atrophy. Only two of these five eyes had AMD-related visual loss in the fellow eye in 1984. The degree of loss of foveal dark-adapted sensitivity in 1984 predicted which patients developed advanced AMD with 100% sensitivity and 92% specificity. The presence of high-risk drusen characteristics in 1984 predicted the development of advanced AMD with 100% sensitivity but only 55% specificity. For this small group of patients, foveal dark-adapted sensitivity loss was an excellent predictor of the subsequent development of advanced AMD in eyes with drusen. A prospective study of a large group of patients with drusen is being undertaken to validate this finding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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