Objective: To describe the natural history of eyes with drusenoid pigment epithelial detachments (DPEDs) associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Design: Multicenter, clinic-based, prospective cohort study. Participants: Among 4757 participants enrolled in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), 255 were identified as having DPED in at least 1 eye and having 5 or more years of follow-up after the initial detection of the DPED. Methods: Baseline and annual fundus photographs were evaluated for the evolution of the fundus features and the development of advanced AMD in the forms of central geographic atrophy (CGA) or neovascular (NV) AMD. Kaplan-Meier analyses of progression to advanced AMD and of moderate vision loss (≥15 letters compared with baseline) were performed. Main Outcome Measures: Rate of progression to advanced AMD and change in visual acuity from baseline (in terms of mean letters lost and proportion losing ≥15 letters). Results: A total of 311 eyes (from 255 participants) with DPED were followed for a median follow-up time of 8 years subsequent to the initial detection of a DPED. Of the 282 eyes that did not have advanced AMD at baseline, advanced AMD developed within 5 years in 119 eyes (42%) (19% progressing to CGA and 23% progressing to NV-AMD). In the remaining eyes that did not develop advanced AMD (n=163), progressive fundus changes, typified by the development of calcified drusen and pigmentary changes, were detected. Visual decline was prominent among study eyes, with approximately 40% of all eyes decreasing in visual acuity by ≥15 letters at 5 years follow-up. Mean visual acuity decreased from 76 letters (∼20/30) at baseline to 61 letters (∼20/60) at 5 years. Five-year decreases in mean visual acuity averaged 26 letters for eyes progressing to advanced AMD and 8 letters for non-progressing eyes. Conclusions: The natural history of eyes containing DPED is characterized by a high rate of progression to both CGA and NV-AMD. Among eyes not progressing to advanced AMD, progressive development of pigmentary changes and calcified drusen were observed. Decline of visual acuity is a common outcome, with or without progression to advanced forms of AMD. Financial Disclosure(s): Proprietary or commercial disclosure may be found after the references.
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