TOPIC: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is highly prevalent among the elderly. We systematically reviewed the literature to provide an overview of ultra-widefield imaging (UWFI) of peripheral retinal lesions in AMD.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Information regarding retinal characteristics and prevalence of AMD is based mainly on studies using color photography of the central retina, where early and potentially severe manifestations of the disease are found. However, this approach has the effect of neglecting the periphery. Studies using UWFI provide new evidence to show that clinical features associated with AMD are not exclusive to the area of the macula.
METHODS: Eligible studies had to detect lesions of the peripheral retina (based on the original definition of a standard macular grid, with the addition of 2 zones classed as peripheral) using UWFI in eyes with AMD. Ultra-widefield imaging included pseudocolor photography, fundus autofluorescence, fluorescein angiography, and indocyanine green angiography. Eligibility was restricted to human participants and studies written in English. We searched the bibliographic databases PubMed, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and the Web of Science on March 27, 2018. We calculated the prevalence of peripheral findings in eyes with AMD and performed similar meta-analyses on the healthy control group. A random-effects model was used because of possible study heterogeneity.
RESULTS: Twelve studies were eligible for the review, which included 3261 or more eyes. Studies were clinic based, apart from 1 study that was a random population sample of individuals 62 years of age or older. Studies were cross-sectional in nature, apart from 1 case-control study. The peripheral lesions most commonly observed were drusen, atrophy, and changes to the retinal pigment epithelium. In eyes with AMD, peripheral lesions were found in 82.7% of eyes (confidence interval, 78.4%-86.7%) compared with 33.3% of healthy eyes (confidence interval, 28.3%-38.5%).
CONCLUSIONS: Peripheral changes were found to be highly prevalent in eyes with AMD, supporting the claim that the disease is panretinal and not macula only. The clinical significance of peripheral lesions in AMD remains incompletely understood, and therefore, further UWFI studies are recommended.