Identifying new markers of AMD development can help clinch a diagnosis while the disease is still in its early stages. A team in Japan recently investigated one such possible marker for AMD: choroidal thickness. The researchers looked specifically at an older, Japanese population who had underwent eye screening for the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study.

Of the 1,293 potential candidates in the study, 901 had choroidal thickness data, fundus photos of sufficient quality and no concomitant retinal diseases. In this study group, the mean choroidal thickness was 246.1μm and 15.1% of patients had early AMD and 9% had intermediate AMD. After adjusting for age, sex and refractive status, the team found that choroidal thickness was significantly associated with the presence of intermediate AMD, but not early AMD.

For those with intermediate AMD, choroidal thickness was also positively associated with AMD pigmentary abnormalities and medium drusen, but no significant association was found with the presence of large drusen. For large drusen subtypes, the researchers noted that choroidal thickness was positively associated with pachydrusen. Upon further analysis, the researchers found that choroidal thickness was positively associated with the presence of non-AMD pigmentary abnormalities.

They concluded that choroidal thickness appears to be associated with intermediate AMD pathology in a Japanese population.

Sasaki M, Ito Y, Yamazaki T, et al. Association of choroidal thickness with intermediate age-relayed macular degeneration in a Japanese population. Ophthalmol Retina. September 5, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].