Haller’s vessels patterns in non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration



To investigate the optical coherence tomography (OCT) en face reconstruction of the choroid in different phenotypes of non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), to identify the relative distribution of the vascular patterns of the Haller’s layer in each AMD category.


Retrospective study enrolling consecutive patients with non-neovascular AMD. Patients were divided into the following: (1) those with reticular pseudodrusen (RPD); (2) those with small (< 63 μm) or medium–large drusen (63–124 μm); (3) those with geographic atrophy (GA). Qualitative analysis of the en face images provided by CIRRUS HD-OCT 5000 (Carl Zeiss Meditech, Inc., Dublin, USA) was performed, identifying five arrangements of Haller’s vessels: temporal herringbone, branched from below, laterally diagonal, double arcuate, and reticular. Choroidal thickness (CT) was measured from structural OCT. Healthy age-matched subjects were included as a control group.


Fifty-eight eyes of 58 patients (20 eyes with RPD; 22 eyes with drusen; 16 eyes with GA) and 18 control eyes were enrolled. The laterally diagonal configuration was the most prevalent (40.0%) in the RPD group; the reticular pattern was the most frequent in the drusen group (50.0%); the double arcuate (62.5%) was the most recurrent pattern in patients with GA. In the control group, the temporal herringbone (38.9%) arrangement was the most represented. The CT associated with the temporal herringbone and reticular arrangement was significantly higher compared to the branched from below (p < 0.001), the laterally diagonal (p = 0.014), and the double arcuate pattern (p = 0.009).


Different phenotypes of non-neovascular AMD present a specific distribution of vascular arrangement on en face OCT. The temporal herringbone and the reticular pattern (the ones more associated in a physiological setting) disclosed a thicker choroid compared to the arrangements more represented in non-neovascular AMD-correlated phenotypes.

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The authors thank Karl Anders Knutsson (IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele) for the English language editing.

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Correspondence to Giuseppe Querques.

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Conflict of interest

Riccardo Sacconi, Maria Vittoria Cicinelli, Enrico Borrelli, Maria Cristina Savastano, Marco Rispoli, Bruno Lumbroso, Eleonora Corbelli, and Marco Casaluci certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Francesco Bandello is a consultant for Alcon (Fort Worth, TX, USA), Alimera Sciences (Alpharetta, GA, USA), Allergan Inc. (Irvine, CA, USA), Farmila-Thea (Clermont-Ferrand, France), Bayer Shering-Pharma (Berlin, Germany), Bausch And Lomb (Rochester, NY, USA), Genentech (San Francisco, CA, USA), Hoffmann-La-Roche (Basel, Switzerland), Novagali Pharma (Évry, France), Novartis (Basel, Switzerland), Sanofi-Aventis (Paris, France), Thrombogenics (Heverlee, Belgium), Zeiss (Dublin, USA).

Giuseppe Querques is a consultant for Alimera Sciences (Alpharetta, GA, USA), Allergan Inc. (Irvine, CA, USA), Amgen (Thousand Oaks, USA), Bayer Shering-Pharma (Berlin, Germany), Heidelberg (Germany), KBH (Chengdu; China), LEH Pharma (London, UK), Lumithera (Poulsbo; USA), Novartis (Basel, Switzerland), Sandoz (Berlin, Germany), Sifi (Catania, Italy), Sooft-Fidea (Abano, Italy), Zeiss (Dublin, USA).

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Sacconi, R., Cicinelli, M.V., Borrelli, E. et al. Haller’s vessels patterns in non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00417-020-04769-7

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  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Drusen
  • En face optical coherence tomography
  • Geographic atrophy
  • Reticular pseudodrusen
  • Choroidal patterns