This observational cohort study aimed to evaluate the progression pattern of diffuse chorioretinal atrophy (DCA) according to its severity. Highly myopic eyes with DCA were graded according to its extent in the 532-nm (green) and 633-nm (red) wavelengths images of the Optos ultra-widefield scanning laser ophthalmoscope at baseline: grade 1 and 2 were defined when increased reflectance at peripapillary region, not beyond the fovea, were observed in red laser image only and in both laser images, respectively; grade 3 and 4 were defined when increased reflectance beyond the fovea were observed in red laser image only and in both laser images, respectively. A total of 307 eyes (221 patients) were included, and progression of myopic maculopathy during follow-up of ≥ 3 years was evaluated. The mean visual acuity and subfoveal choroidal thickness (CT) differed among DCA grades (P = 0.015 and P < 0.001); a higher DCA grade had worse visual acuity and thinner choroid. During follow-up, development of patchy atrophy (PA) was observed in 3.2%, 5.5%, 12.8%, and 23.2% (P < 0.001), while changes in lacquer crack (LC) and/or development of myopic macular neovascularization were observed in 20.6%, 29.1%, 33.3%, and 15.8% (P = 0.061) of 63, 110, 39, and 95 eyes with DCA grade of 1, 2, 3, and 4 at baseline, respectively. New LC formation tended to occur in eyes with thicker CT at baseline compared to PA development and progression of pre-existing LC. In highly myopic eyes with DCA, progression pattern of myopic maculopathy is different according to its severity and CT at baseline. Grading based on separated wavelength images of ultra-widefield scanning laser ophthalmoscope is useful to evaluate the severity and prognosis of DCA in Asian patients with high myopia.
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