Non-invasive testing for early detection of neovascular macular degeneration in unaffected second eyes of older adults: EDNA diagnostic accuracy study

Katie Banister, Jonathan A. Cook, Graham Scotland, Augusto Azuara-Blanco, Beatriz Goulão, Heinrich Heimann, Rodolfo Hernández, Ruth Hogg, Charlotte Kennedy, Sobha Sivaprasad, Craig Ramsay, Usha Chakravarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

241 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Neovascular age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of sight loss, and early detection and treatment is important. For patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration in one eye, it is usual practice to monitor the unaffected eye. The test used to diagnose neovascular age-related macular degeneration, fundus fluorescein angiography, is an invasive test. Non-invasive tests are available, but their diagnostic accuracy is unclear. OBJECTIVES: The primary objective was to determine the diagnostic monitoring performance of tests for neovascular age-related macular degeneration in the second eye of patients with unilateral neovascular age-related macular degeneration. The secondary objectives were the cost-effectiveness of tests and to identify predictive factors of developing neovascular age-related macular degeneration. DESIGN: This was a multicentre, prospective, cohort, comparative diagnostic accuracy study in a monitoring setting for up to 3 years. A Cox regression risk prediction model and a Markov microsimulation model comparing cost-effectiveness of the index tests over 25 years were used. SETTING: This took place in hospital eye services. PARTICIPANTS: Participants were adults (aged 50-95 years) with newly diagnosed (within the previous 6 weeks) neovascular age-related macular degeneration in one eye and an unaffected second (study) eye who were attending for treatment injections in the first eye and who had a study eye baseline visual acuity of ≥ 68 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study letters. INTERVENTIONS: The index tests were Amsler chart (completed by participants), fundus clinical examination, optical coherence tomography, self-reported vision assessment (completed by participants) and visual acuity. The reference standard was fundus fluorescein angiography. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome measures were sensitivity and specificity; the performance of the risk predictor model; and costs and quality-adjusted life-years. RESULTS: In total, 552 out of 578 patients who consented from 24 NHS hospitals (n = 16 ineligible; n = 10 withdrew consent) took part. The mean age of the patients was 77.4 years (standard deviation 7.7 years) and 57.2% were female. For the primary analysis, 464 patients underwent follow-up fundus fluorescein angiography and 120 developed neovascular age-related macular degeneration on fundus fluorescein angiography. The diagnostic accuracy [sensitivity (%) (95% confidence interval); specificity (%) (95% confidence interval)] was as follows: optical coherence tomography 91.7 (85.2 to 95.6); 87.8 (83.8 to 90.9)], fundus clinical examination [53.8 (44.8 to 62.5); 97.6 (95.3 to 98.9)], Amsler [33.7 (25.1 to 43.5); 81.4 (76.4 to 85.5)], visual acuity [30.0 (22.5 to 38.7); 66.3 (61.0 to 71.1)] and self-reported vision [4.2 (1.6 to 9.8); 97.0 (94.6 to 98.5)]. Optical coherence tomography had the highest sensitivity across all secondary analyses. The final prediction model for neovascular age-related macular degeneration in the non-affected eye included smoking status, family history of neovascular age-related macular degeneration, the presence of nodular drusen with or without reticular pseudodrusen, and the presence of pigmentary abnormalities [c-statistic 0.66 (95% confidence interval 0.62 to 0.71)]. Optical coherence tomography monitoring generated the greatest quality-adjusted life-years gained per patient (optical coherence tomography, 5.830; fundus clinical examination, 5.787; Amsler chart, 5.736, self-reported vision, 5.630; and visual acuity, 5.600) for the lowest health-care and social care costs (optical coherence tomography, £19,406; fundus clinical examination, £19,649; Amsler chart, £19,751; self-reported vision, £20,198; and visual acuity, £20,444) over the lifetime of the simulated cohort. Optical coherence tomography dominated the other tests or had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio below the accepted cost-effectiveness thresholds (£20,000) across the scenarios explored. LIMITATIONS: The diagnostic performance may be different in an unselected population without any history of neovascular age-related macular degeneration; the prediction model did not include genetic profile data, which might have improved the discriminatory performance. CONCLUSIONS: Optical coherence tomography was the most accurate in diagnosing conversion to neovascular age-related macular degeneration in the fellow eye of patients with unilateral neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Economic modelling suggests that optical coherence tomography monitoring is cost-effective and leads to earlier diagnosis of and treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration in the second eye of patients being treated for neovascular age-related macular degeneration in their first eye. FUTURE WORK: Future works should investigate the role of home monitoring, improved risk prediction models and impact on long-term visual outcomes. STUDY REGISTRATION: This study was registered as ISRCTN48855678. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 26, No. 8. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-142
Number of pages142
JournalHealth technology assessment (Winchester, England)
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2022



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Non-invasive testing for early detection of neovascular macular degeneration in unaffected second eyes of older adults: EDNA diagnostic accuracy study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this