Imaging Histology Correlations of Intraretinal Fluid in Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Andreas Berlin, Jeffrey D. Messinger, Chandrakumar Balaratnasingam, Randev Mendis, Daniela Ferrara, K. Bailey Freund, Christine A. Curcio

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Purpose: Fluid presence and dynamism is central to the diagnosis and management of neovascular age-related macular degeneration. On optical coherence tomography (OCT), some hyporeflective spaces arise through vascular permeability (exudation) and others arise through degeneration (transudation). Herein we determined whether the histological appearance of fluid manifested this heterogeneity. Methods: Two eyes of a White woman in her 90s with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treated bilateral type 3 neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration were osmicated, prepared for submicrometer epoxy resin sections, and correlated to eye-tracked spectral domain OCT. Examples of intraretinal tissue fluid were sought among similarly prepared donor eyes with fibrovascular scars, in a web-based age-related macular degeneration histopathology resource. Fluid stain intensity was quantified in reference to Bruch’s membrane and the empty glass slide. Results: Exudative fluid by OCT was slightly reflective and dynamically responded to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor. On histology, this fluid stained moderately, possessed a smooth and homogenous texture, and contained blood cells and fibrin. Nonexudative fluid in degenerative cysts and in outer retinal tubulation was minimally reflective on OCT and did not respond to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor. By histology, this fluid stained lightly, possessed a finely granular texture, and contained mainly tissue debris. Quantification supported the qualitative impressions of fluid stain density. Cells containing retinal pigment epithelium organelles localized to both fluid types. Conclusions: High-resolution histology of osmicated tissue can distinguish between exudative and nonexudative fluid, some of which is transudative. Translational Relevance: OCT and histological features of different fluid types can inform clinical decision-making and assist in the interpretation of newly available automated fluid detection algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
Number of pages15
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2023

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