Macular Telangiectasia Type 2: Visual Acuity, Disease End Stage, and the MacTel Area: MacTel Project Report Number 8.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Heeren, Tjebo F C; Chew, Emily Y; Clemons, Traci; Fruttiger, Marcus; Balaskas, Konstantinos; Schwartz, Roy; Egan, Catherine A; Charbel Issa, Peter; MacTel Study Group
Date Published
2020 Apr 21

PURPOSE: To report the visual acuity measures from the macular telangiectasia type 2 (MacTel) registry and to investigate and describe phenotypic findings in eyes with substantial vision loss resulting from MacTel.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional multicenter study.

PARTICIPANTS: Participants in the MacTel Natural History Observation Registration Study.

METHODS: Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) data, retinal imaging data, and clinical data were accessed from the MacTel Study databases in May 2019.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Frequency distribution of BCVA and its relationship to age; morphologic changes in eyes with very late disease stages, defined by a BCVA of 20/200 or worse; average retinal thickness of macular subfields on OCT; and dimensions of the area affected by MacTel (i.e., the MacTel area).

RESULTS: Best-corrected visual acuity was 20/50 or worse in 37.3% and 20/200 or worse in 3.8% of 4449 eyes of 2248 patients; 18.4% and 0.7% of all patients showed bilateral BCVA of 20/50 or worse and 20/200 or worse, respectively. Asymmetry between right and left eyes was present (median BCVA, 71 letters vs. 74 letters), a finding supported by more advanced morphologic changes in right eyes. Participant age correlated with BCVA, but the effect size was small. If a neovascularization or macular hole were present, bilateral occurrence was frequent (33% or 17%, respectively), and BCVA was better than 20/200 (79% or 78%, respectively) or 20/50 or better (26% or 13%, respectively). Eyes with advanced disease (BCVA, ≤20/200) showed the following characteristics: (1) atrophy of the foveal photoreceptor layer with or without associated subretinal fibrosis; (2) an affected area, termed MacTel area, limited to a horizontal diameter not exceeding the distance between the temporal optic disc margin and foveal center, and the vertical diameter not exceeding approximately 0.8 times this distance (exceptions were eyes with large active or inactive neovascular membranes); (3) reduced retinal thickness measures within the MacTel area; and (4) less frequent retinal greying and more frequent hyperpigmentations compared with eyes that have better BCVA.

CONCLUSIONS: Severe vision loss is rare in MacTel and is related to photoreceptor atrophy in most people. Results indicate disease asymmetry with slightly worse vision and more advanced disease manifestation in right eyes. MacTel-related neurodegeneration does not spread beyond the limits of the MacTel area.