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Angioid Streaks Treatment & Management

  • Author: Mohammad Abusamak, MD; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
 
Updated: Feb 20, 2014
 

Medical Care

Initially, patients are asymptomatic and no indication for prophylactic treatment is present. Angioid streaks are a generalized disorder of the Bruch membrane.

Angioid streaks are an uncommon entity to be studied and are treated as part of a controlled and randomized study. Treatment methods are based mainly on individual experience and extrapolation from the Macular Photocoagulation Study Group. Patients with angioid streaks are at higher risk of choroidal rupture and subretinal hemorrhage secondary to mild blunt trauma.[9] They are advised to wear protective goggles and sports glasses when playing sports and during work.

Treatment options include observation, laser photocoagulation, and surgical removal of CNVM under the fovea. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for CNVM secondary to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

  • Observation
    • Initially, symptomatic patients complained of a decrease in their central visual acuity, and some developed distortion and metamorphopsia that was more disturbing than the associated central scotomas. Usually, central scotomas tend to increase in size if left untreated before subsequent scarring of the macula occurs.
    • Early at the time of diagnosis, more than 50% of patients had vision of 20/40 or better; one half of them became legally blind at an average follow-up period of 3.5 years. Most eyes had vision 20/200 or worse after age 50 years.
    • In one study, 11 untreated eyes with subretinal neovascular membranes all had a final visual acuity of counting fingers. Clarkson and Altman reported 29 patients seen on 2 occasions over a period of at least 6 months.[10] Decreased vision of 2 lines or greater on the Snellen chart occurred in 13 of 29 patients.[10]
    • Prophylactic laser treatment in clinically asymptomatic eyes without active choroidal neovascularization is not recommended. In one study, prophylactic treatment was associated with an increased incidence of neovascularization at the site of treatment. However, patients who received laser photocoagulation noticed a decrease in the size of their central scotomas and early relief from visual distortion.
  • Laser photocoagulation
    • Photocoagulation, including light (xenon) and argon, has been used since the early 1970s, although angioid streaks themselves were treated to stop their progression toward the macula. Early treatment experiences with light and laser photocoagulation were disappointing and discouraging. Some investigators discouraged laser treatment of CNVM in angioid streaks.
    • Some success with argon laser for lesions that are located at least 100 µm from the center of the foveal avascular zone (FAZ) has been reported.
    • Laser therapy is believed to slow the progression of the CNV toward the fovea and stabilizes vision. Moreover, it improves the quality of vision (ie, size of central scotoma, decreases metamorphopsia). Successful treatment of CNV may not improve central vision in some patients since dehiscences in the Bruch membranes may involve and damage the foveal RPE.
    • Many investigators found that laser treatment, if administered early and adequately to CNV lesions, may have a favorable result on long-term visual outcome.
    • Many patients needed multiple treatments because of persistent leakage and recurrence that occurred during the first 3 months.
    • Patients need to be monitored closely with Amsler grids and FA.
    • In several series, the recurrence rate was reported as high as 77% of patients who underwent laser treatment. Most recurrent CNVMs were subfoveal. The incidence of recurrence was higher in angioid streaks than in other conditions, such as ARMD, degenerative myopia, and histoplasmosis.
    • Treating CNVM associated with angioid streaks is sometimes challenging. Both occult and classic CNV can occur in the same eye and usually are located very close to the foveal avascular zone. RPE reaction is minimal around CNVM. Some of these membranes grow fast once they break through the Bruch membrane. Careful setup of laser power and spot size is important to prevent further damage to the brittle and mineralized Bruch membrane.
  • Photodynamic therapy
    • PDT is a modality approved by the FDA for the treatment of CNV secondary to ARMD. It uses a light activated drug (eg, verteporfin [Visudyne]) and applying a nonthermal red light in the range of 689 nanometers. The total energy delivered is 50 J/cm2 over a period of 83 seconds. The power of laser output can be adjusted according to size of CNV and ophthalmic lens magnification.
    • A study evaluated the short-term safety and visual effects after administering PDT in 13 patients with classic subfoveal CNV secondary to pathological myopia, ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, angioid streaks, and idiopathic causes. Most patients gained at least 1 line of vision. Reduction in the size of leakage area from classic CNV was noted in all patients as early as 1-week posttreatment, with complete absence of leakage in almost one half of the patients. Up to 4 treatments were found to have short-term safety even with re-treatment intervals as short as 4 weeks.
    • Karacorlu et al evaluated the safety and efficacy of PDT with verteporfin for subfoveal CNV associated with angioid streaks in 8 eyes and showed that PDT generally achieved a short-term cessation of or a decrease of fluorescein leakage from subfoveal CNVM without loss of vision in patients with angioid steaks.[11]
    • Long-term effects of PDT, especially in patients who may need multiple treatments, are unknown. Patients with angioid streaks are at higher risk of recurrent CNV.
      Right eye, midphase arteriovenous, showing chorioc Right eye, midphase arteriovenous, showing choriocapillaris atrophic changes. This 45-year-old patient underwent 3 injections of Avastin and one session of half-time photodynamic therapy.
      Same patient as in previous image, a few months be Same patient as in previous image, a few months before the Avastin injection and half-time photodynamic therapy.
  • Antiangiogenic agents
    • Recently, with the advent of antivascular endothelial antibodies, namely bevacizumab and ranibizumab, the treatment of choroidal neovascularization secondary to angioid streak has taken a great positive turn. Many patients are treated with anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy worldwide. The visual function showed stabilization over extended periods. Unfortunately, the recurrence rate is high and many patients need repeated injections to control the disease.[12, 13, 14, 15]
    • Combination low-fluence photodynamic therapy and ranibizumab were used successfully to treat cases of angioid streaks in many centers around the world.[16, 17]
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Surgical Care

See the list below:

  • Submacular surgery
    • Patients with classic subfoveal CNVM are not candidates for laser photocoagulation therapy. In the past, they were left without treatment. However, advances in instrumentation and vitreoretinal surgical techniques have made it possible to remove CNVM without significant damage to RPE and neurosensory retina.
    • Eckstein et al reported encouraging short-term visual results in 31 consecutive patients with non–age-related subfoveal CNVM, including angioid streaks.[18] Visual acuity improved or remained the same in 25 of 31 eyes. Moreover, visual acuity improved by more than 2 lines in 5 eyes (16%). Older patients and those with atrophic RPE had the worst outcome. Recurrent CNV occurred in 11 eyes (35%). The presence of subfoveal blood was associated with a higher recurrence rate of membranes. There was no significant association between the final visual acuity and length of symptoms prior to surgery or preoperative vision.[18]
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Activity

Patients with angioid streaks have a high risk of choroidal rupture and subretinal hemorrhage secondary to mild blunt trauma. It is recommended that patients wear protective sports glasses whenever applicable.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Mohammad Abusamak, MD Chief of Retina Division, Jordan University Hospital; Assistant Professor, Division of Ophthalmology, University of Jordan Faculty of Medicine; Ophthalmologist, Amman Eye Clinic, Jordan

Mohammad Abusamak, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Retina Specialists

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Steve Charles, MD Director of Charles Retina Institute; Clinical Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tennessee College of Medicine

Steve Charles, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Retina Specialists, Macula Society, Retina Society, Club Jules Gonin

Disclosure: Received royalty and consulting fees for: Alcon Laboratories.

Chief Editor

Hampton Roy, Sr, MD Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Hampton Roy, Sr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American College of Surgeons, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Russell P Jayne, MD Consulting Vitreoretinal Surgeon, The Retina Center at Las Vegas

Russell P Jayne, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, American Society of Retina Specialists

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

References
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Progression of angioid streaks. Large subretinal hemorrhage.
Same eye as in previous image, 11 months later. Partial resolution of subretinal blood. Notice the old subretinal hemorrhage under the fovea and color change to white-yellow.
Late complication of choroidal neovascularization in angioid streaks. Same eye as in previous images, 5 years later. Notice the extensive scarring and subretinal exudates and dehemoglobinized blood.
Red-free photograph of the optic nerve and posterior pole showing the cracks in the Bruch membrane. Notice the retinal arteries and veins crossing over the dark red streaks.
Early fluorescein angiography showing the early hyperfluorescence, window defect, of the angioid streaks.
Late fluorescein angiography of the same eye as in Media file 2. Notice the staining of the edges of the streaks. Also, staining in the center of the macula is present due to extension of the Bruch membrane crack. When compared to early fluorescein angiography, no active leakage is present.
Right eye, midphase arteriovenous, showing choriocapillaris atrophic changes. This 45-year-old patient underwent 3 injections of Avastin and one session of half-time photodynamic therapy.
Same patient as in previous image, a few months before the Avastin injection and half-time photodynamic therapy.
A 50-year-old man with a 2-month history of blurring vision in the left eye. The color photograph showed subretinal blood and large membrane, extrafoveal in location.
Early fundus fluorescein angiography showing the hyperfluorescence of the choroidal neovascular membrane of the left eye of the same patient in the previous image.
Late fundus fluorescein angiography confirming the active choroidal neovascular membrane of the left eye.
 
 
 
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