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Purpose: To compare the disease course of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) atrophy secondary to age-related macula degeneratio (AMD) and late-onset Stargardt disease (STGD1). Methods: Patients were examined longitudinally by fundus autofluorescence, near-infrared reflectance imaging, and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA). Areas of RPE atrophy were quantified using semi-automated software, and the status of the fovea was evaluated based on autofluorescence and near-infrared reflectance images. Mixed-effects models were used to compare atrophy progression rates. BCVA loss and loss of foveal integrity were analyzed using Turnbull's estimator. Results: A total of 151 patients (226 eyes) with RPE atrophy secondary to AMD and 38 patients (66 eyes) with RPE atrophy secondary to late-onset STGD1 were examined for a median time of 2.3 years (interquartile range, 2.7). Mean baseline age was 74.2 years (SD, 7.6) in AMD and 63.4 (SD, 9.9) in late-onset STGD1 (P = 1.1 × 10-7). Square root atrophy progression was significantly faster in AMD when compared with late-onset STGD1 (0.28 mm/year [SE, 0.01] vs. 0.23 [SE, 0.03]; P = 0.030). In late-onset STGD1, the median survival of the fovea was significantly longer when compared with eyes with AMD (8.60 vs. 3.35 years; P = 0.005) with a trend to a later BCVA loss of ≥3 lines (5.97 vs. 4.37 years; P = 0.382). Conclusions: These natural history data indicate differential disease progression in AMD versus late-onset STGD1. The results underline the relevance of refined phenotyping in elderly patients presenting with RPE atrophy in regard to prognosis and design of interventional trials.

Original publication




Journal article


Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci

Publication Date





1001 - 1007


Aged, Disease Progression, Electroretinography, Female, Fluorescein Angiography, Follow-Up Studies, Fundus Oculi, Humans, Macula Lutea, Macular Degeneration, Male, Middle Aged, Prognosis, Retinal Pigment Epithelium, Retrospective Studies, Tomography, Optical Coherence, Visual Acuity