While solar maculopathy due to direct sun exposure has an overall good prognosis, follow-up changes have not been well documented until recently. Now, researchers have found that eyes with foveal damage from solar retinopathy show no improvement after six months.

This prospective observational case series evaluated 10 eyes of six patients with significant foveal pathology. All were followed for a year and underwent visual acuity testing, refraction, dilated fundus examination, fluorescein angiography and OCT imaging.

At initial presentation, the team reported that the mean spherical equivalent was -0.25±0.50D and that visual acuity of the affected eyes ranged from 0.4 to 0.9. They discovered that all eyes showed disruption of the photoreceptor ellipsoid and interdigitation zones. The investigators noted that all eyes also showed at least some improvement in visual acuity—20% regained 1.0 line of acuity, 50% improved to 0.9, 20% had a visual acuity of 0.8 and 10% leveled out at 0.4. They added that improvement began after one week and reached its maximum and became stationary after six months of follow-up, with the outer retinal hole persisting in 80% of eyes.

The study authors concluded that young age is like a risk factor for solar retinopathy, as the mean age of participants was 16.5 years.

Abdellah MM, Mostafa EM, Anber MA, et al. Solar maculopathy: prognosis over one year follow up. BMC Ophthalmol. September 18, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].