Factors influencing retinal pigment epithelium-atrophy progression rate in stargardt disease

Maria Vittoria Cicinelli, Alessandro Rabiolo, Maria Brambati, Chiara Viganò, Francesco Bandello, Maurizio Battaglia Parodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate demographic, clinical, imaging, and genetic factors associated with retinal pigment epithelium enlargement in Stargardt disease (STGD1) and to measure the agreement between short-wavelength fundus autofluorescence (SW-FAF) and near-infrared fundus autofluorescence (NIR-FAF). Methods: Retrospective cohort study of patients with STGD1 with >2 gradable SW- FAF images. RPE-atrophy areas were measured on SW-FAF and NIR-FAF at each visit and regressed against time to obtain the rate of RPE-atrophy enlargement. Agreement between SW-FAF and NIR-FAF with regards to baseline atrophic areas and rates of enlargement was evaluated. Baseline factors predictive of faster SW-FAF RPE-atrophy enlargement were investigated with linear mixed models. Results: Fifty-four eyes of 28 patients (median age: 45 years; 13 males) were included. SW-FAF and NIR-FAF agreed well for slow rates of RPE-atrophy progression, but agreement decreased as the rate increased. Median (interquartile range [IQR]) rate of RPE-atrophy expansion was 0.18 (0.10-0.85) mm2/year on SW-FAF and 0.24 (0.08-0.33) mm2/year on NIR-FAF. Larger baseline RPE-atrophy area (estimate: 0.057 mm'/year, P < 0.001), worse visual acuity (0.305 mm'/year, P = 0.005), multifocal disease (0.401 mm"7year, P = 0.02), and SW-FAF pattern (0.534 mnWyear, P =0.03) were associated with a faster rate of progression (predictive R?: 0.65).Conclusions: SW-FAF and NIR-FAF are not interchangeable in the evaluation of RPEatrophy enlargement, and both imaging modalities may be required for optimal detection of disease progression. A multivariable model based on baseline clinical and imaging information may identify patients at higher risk of fast disease progression. Translational Relevance: The knowledge of the agreement of different FAF modalities, the estimated rates of RPE-atrophy enlargement, and factors predictive of faster anatomic decay in STGD1 may allow tailored clinical management and better clinical trials design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Best-corrected visual acuity
  • Disease progression
  • Near-infrared autofluorescence
  • Short-wavelength autofluorescence
  • Stargardt disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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