PURPOSE: To explore the associations between diffuse chorioretinal atrophy (DCA) and age, sex, axial length, spherical equivalent, and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) among highly myopic eyes.
METHODS: This study included right eyes of 857 bilaterally highly myopic individuals from the ZOC-BHVI Cohort Study. Participants underwent examinations, including BCVA, ocular biometry, autorefraction, and color fundus photography. An Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study grid was applied on the fundus photographs to evaluate the location of DCA, which was graded into four categories (D0-D3). The characteristics and ocular biometry were compared between participants' eyes with and without DCA.
RESULTS: Diffuse chorioretinal atrophy was found in 177 (20.6%) eyes. The proportion of participants with DCA in age groups of 7 to 11, 12 to 18, 19 to 39, and ≥ 40 years old was 20.9%, 9.2%, 23.1%, and 52.9%, respectively. The proportion of DCA significantly increased with longer axial length and worse myopic spherical equivalent. Eyes with DCA had poorer BCVA (Snellen visual acuity 20/36, logarithm of minimal angle of resolution 0.26 ± 0.25) than those without DCA (Snellen visual acuity 20/23, logarithm of minimal angle of resolution 0.06 ± 0.14) (P < 0.001). The BCVA gradually declined as the lesion got closer to the fovea (P for trend < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: The proportion of DCA increased with older age, longer axial length, and more myopic spherical equivalent. Diffuse chorioretinal atrophy is a vision-threatening complication of high myopia where BCVA gradually worsens with foveal involvement.