Light Sensitivity Within Areas of Geographic Atrophy Secondary to Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
Pfau M., von der Emde L., Dysli C., Thiele S., Möller PT., Lindner M., Nadal J., Schmid M., Schmitz-Valckenberg S., Holz FG., Fleckenstein M.
Purpose: To investigate residual sensitivity within geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration. Methods: Mesopic and dark-adapted (DA) cyan and red light sensitivity (Goldmann III) were investigated using fundus-controlled perimetry (microperimetry). Test points were placed within GA along an "iso-hull" with a distance of -0.645° to the atrophy boundary. The false-positive response rate was determined with suprathreshold stimuli to the optic disc (Heijl-Krakau method) and used to compute the expected sensitivity measurements for the assumption of absolute scotomata. The outermost visible retinal layer on spectral-domain optical coherence tomography at the location of each test point was determined. Results: Thirty eyes of 36 patients (75.55 ± 7.93 years; 19 female) from the prospective natural history study Directional Spread in Geographic Atrophy (NCT02051998), with a total of 1380 threshold determinations were analyzed. The measured sensitivities were significantly (P < 0.01) higher than the expected values for absolute scotomata (mean ± standard error of +6.92 ± 0.86 dB for mesopic, +2.57 ± 0.56 dB for DA cyan, and +4.93 ± 0.74 dB for DA red testing). For mesopic testing and DA red testing, the presence of a residual outer nuclear layer had a significant effect on this discrepancy (P < 0.001). There was no effect of fixation stability or any other reliability index on this discrepancy. Conclusions: Measured sensitivities within the inner junctional zone of GA may not be purely explained by patient-specific false-positive response rates or other reliability indices. The marked influence of the outer retinal configuration on measured sensitivity may be indicative of residual cone function within GA at the inner junctional zone.