Purpose: In patients diagnosed with Best vitelliform macular dystrophy (BVMD), quantitative fundus autofluorescence (qAF), near-infrared fundus autofluorescence (NIR-AF), and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) were used to elucidate pathogenic mechanisms. Methods: Fourteen patients heterozygous for BEST1 mutations were recruited. qAF was analyzed using short-wavelength fundus autofluorescence (SW-AF) images. Mean gray levels (GL) were determined in nonlesion areas (7 to 9° eccentricity) and adjusted by GL measured in an internal fluorescent reference. NIR-AF images (787 nm; sensitivity of 96) were captured and saved in non-normalized mode. Horizontal SD-OCT images also were acquired and BVMD was staged according to the OCT findings. Results: In the pre-vitelliform stage, NIR-AF imaging revealed an area of reduced fluorescence, whereas in the vitelliruptive stage, puncta of elevated NIR-AF signal were present. In both SW-AF and NIR-AF images, the vitelliform lesion in the atrophic stage was marked by reduced signal. At all stages of BVMD, nonlesion qAF was within the 95% confidence intervals for healthy eyes. Similarly, the NIR-AF intensity measurements outside the vitelliform lesion were comparable to the healthy control eye. SD-OCT scans revealed a fluid-filled detachment between the ellipsoid zone and the hyperreflectivity band attributable to RPE/Bruch's membrane. Conclusions: NIR-AF imaging can identify the pre-vitelliform stage of BVMD. Mutations in BEST1 are not associated with increased levels of SW-AF outside the vitelliform lesion. Elevated SW-AF within the fluid-filled lesion likely reflects the inability of RPE to phagocytose outer segments due to separation of RPE from photoreceptor cells, together with progressive photoreceptor cell impairment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience