To characterize foveal atrophy in a heterogeneous group of patients with uveitis using clinical findings and high-definition (HD) optical coherence tomography (OCT).
Cross-sectional, retrospective case series.
The HD-OCT scans of 140 patients seen in a tertiary referral center were reviewed and 23 patients (33 eyes) with foveal atrophy were identified. All of the patients with foveal atrophy were diagnosed with intermediate uveitis, posterior uveitis, or panuveitis. The status of the photoreceptor layer as visualized with HD-OCT was associated with significant differences in mean visual acuity (P < .001). Clinical findings associated with foveal atrophy included atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium and choroid (30 eyes [91%]), macular ischemia (13 eyes [39%]), cystoid macular edema (5 eyes [15%]), choroidal neovascularization (4 eyes [12%]), retinal detachment involving the macula (2 eyes [6%]), and serum antiretinal antibodies (2 eyes [6%]).
Foveal atrophy can be a complication of intraocular inflammation in a variety of uveitic syndromes. The cause of foveal atrophy is multifactorial and may include dysfunction and atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium and choroid, cystoid macular edema, macular ischemia secondary to occlusive retinal vasculitis, choroidal neovascularization, retinal detachment, and possibly antibody-mediated damage directed against photoreceptors. Careful observation of the photoreceptor layer using HD-OCT may help to identify patients who are at risk for visual loss secondary to foveal atrophy.