Visual function testing was performed on one eye with drusen from each of 18 elderly patients in 1984. Eleven patients had advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the fellow eye, and seven had only bilateral drusen. These patients were all followed prospectively (median, 45 months), at which time one eye had a new vessel membrane, three eyes had pigment epithelial detachments, and one eye had geographic atrophy. Only two of these five eyes had AMD-related visual loss in the fellow eye in 1984. The degree of loss of foveal dark-adapted sensitivity in 1984 predicted which patients developed advanced AMD with 100% sensitivity and 92% specificity. The presence of high-risk drusen characteristics in 1984 predicted the development of advanced AMD with 100% sensitivity but only 55% specificity. For this small group of patients, foveal dark-adapted sensitivity loss was an excellent predictor of the subsequent development of advanced AMD in eyes with drusen. A prospective study of a large group of patients with drusen is being undertaken to validate this finding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas