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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAB Investigators Assess Link between Subretinal Drusenoid Deposits and AMD

“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 three years later,” says lead investigator Ms. Carrie Huisingh, doctoral student in the department of epidemiology and statistician in the department of ophthalmology, in collaboration with Dr. Gerald McGwin, Jr., professor and vice chair in the department of epidemiology and associate director of the Clinical Research Unit, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Co-investigators are Dr. David Neely, ophthalmology resident at UAB’s Callahan Eye Hospital; and Dr. Anna Zarubina, postdoctoral fellow; Mr. Mark E. Clark, ophthalmic imaging manager; Dr. Yuhua Zhang, assistant professor; Dr. Christine A. Curcio, professor; and Dr. Cynthia Owsley, professor, in UAB’s department of ophthalmology.



[Photo: Ms. Carrie Huisingh (left) and Dr. Gerald McGwin, Jr.]

The researchers assessed 799 eyes from 455 participants in the Alabama Study on Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ALSTAR)—a quarter of whom had SDD in one or both eyes—whose normal macular health was determined by criteria established in the National Eye Institute–sponsored Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). At the three-year follow-up, 11.9 percent of eyes had developed AMD, defined as having an AREDS grade of 2 or higher.

“Compared with eyes without SDD, those with SDD were 2.24 (95 percent 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,” note the team. Since these results suggest that SDD in older eyes with normal macular health is a risk factor for early-onset AMD, they conclude that “older adults in seemingly normal macular health yet having SDD may warrant closer clinical monitoring for the possible onset of early AMD.”

“The Association Between Subretinal Drusenoid Deposits in Older Adults in Normal Macular Health and Incident Age-Related Macular Degeneration” was published in February  in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS).

Journal article: