Subretinal drusenoid deposits are strongly associated with coexistent high-risk vascular diseases

Gerardo Ledesma-Gil, Oscar Otero-Marquez, Sharmina Alauddin, Yuehong Tong, Katy Tai, Harriet Lloyd, Micaela Koci, Maria Scolaro, Cinthi Pillai, Catherine Ye, Arun Govindaiah, Alauddin Bhuiyan, Mandip S. Dhamoon, Avnish Deobhakta, Gareth Lema, Jagat Narula, Richard B. Rosen, Lawrence A. Yannuzzi, K. Bailey Freund, Roland Theodore Smith

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10 Scopus citations


Background/aims Demonstrate that subretinal drusenoid deposits (SDDs) in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are linked to coexistent high-risk vascular diseases (HRVDs). Methods Cross-sectional study. Two hundred AMD subjects (aged 51-100 years; 121 women, 79 men) were recruited. Spectral domain optical coherence tomography, autofluorescence and near-infrared reflectance imaging, and lipid profiles were obtained. Subjects were assigned by health history questionnaires into those with or without HRVDs, defined as: cardiac valve defect (eg, aortic stenosis), myocardial defect (eg, myocardial infarction) and stroke/transient ischaemic attack. Masked readers assigned subjects into two groups: SDD (with or without drusen) and drusen (only). Univariate testing was performed by χ 2 test. We built multivariate regression models to test relationships of coexistent HRVD to SDD status, lipid levels and other covariates. Results The prevalence of HRVD was 41.2% (40/97) and 6.8% (7/103) in the SDD and non-SDD groups, respectively (correlation of SDD with HRVD, p=9×10 -9, OR 9.62, 95% CI 4.04 to 22.91). Multivariate regressions: only SDDs and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the first two HDL quartiles remained significant for HRVD (p=9.8×10 -5, 0.021, respectively). Multivariate regression model: SDDs and an HDL in Q1 or Q2 identified the presence of HRVD with the accuracy of 78.5%, 95% CI 72.2% to 84.0%. Conclusions High-risk cardiovascular and neurovascular diseases were accurately identified in an AMD cohort from SDDs and HDL levels. The SDDs may be related to inadequate ocular perfusion resulting from the systemic vasculopathies. Further research with this paradigm is warranted and might reduce mortality and morbidity from vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001154
JournalBMJ Open Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2022


  • Imaging
  • Macula
  • Retina


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