PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between the early signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the risk of developing exudative AMD (typical AMD or polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy [PCV]) in the fellow eye of Japanese patients with unilateral exudative AMD, focusing particularly on eyes with only pigmentary abnormality. METHODS: This study is a retrospective observational consecutive case series. We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts of patients who revisited the AMD clinic from 2010 to 2011 and confirmed 129 cases with unilateral exudative AMD at their first visit (baseline). The non-affected eyes at baseline (the second eye) were categorized by the presence of early signs of AMD. The incidence of exudative AMD (typical AMD or PCV) in the fellow eye was confirmed by fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography. RESULTS: Of the 129 patients, 14 (10.9%) developed exudative AMD in the fellow eye (median follow-up, 3.2 years; n = 7 typical AMD and n = 7 PCV). Eyes with both pigmentary abnormalities and large drusen were more likely to develop typical AMD (age- and sex-adjusted odds ratio = 9.46, 95% confidence interval = 1.05 to 85.0), whereas pigmentary abnormalities without large drusen were associated with PCV (age- and sex-adjusted odds ratio = 15.9, 95% confidence interval = 1.8 to 140.5). CONCLUSIONS: There was a difference in the association between early signs of AMD and incident development of either typical AMD or PCV. Further research is warranted to determine whether pigmentary abnormalities alone may be an important risk factor for PCV in Asians.
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