PURPOSE: Submacular surgery is under investigation for the treatment of subfoveal choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration, ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, and other causes. The aims of this study were to determine whether the macular area from which choroidal neovascularization was removed surgically remained functional and whether there was any qualitative difference between eyes with different disease conditions or between eyes of younger and older patients. METHODS: Our study included 19 patients (19 eyes) with choroidal neovascularization, seven cases caused by age-related macular degeneration and 12 caused by ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, pathologic myopia, or idiopathic causes. All tests were performed at least 6 months after surgical removal of choroidal neovascularization. All patients underwent fundus perimetry with the scanning laser ophthalmoscope for evaluation of dense and relative scotomas and fixation site. RESULTS: After submacular surgery in 19 patients, 10 patients (one with age-related macular degeneration and nine with pathologic myopia, ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, or an idiopathic cause of choroidal neovascularization) fixated within an area that ophthalmoscopically and angiographically was an area of retinal pigment epithelial disturbance occupied by choroidal neovascularization preoperatively. Of 12 patients without age-related macular degeneration, seven of eight patients younger than 50 years of age compared with two of four patients 50 years or older fixated within the area of retinal pigment epithelial disturbance. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that in patients without age-related macular degeneration who undergo submacular surgery, the surgically disturbed area previously occupied by choroidal neovascularization can remain functional postoperatively. Furthermore, occasionally a patient with age-related macular degeneration undergoing submacular surgery still can fixate in the area from which the choroidal neovascularization was removed.
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