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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 329-330
Large drusen following long-standing retinal detachment

Vittala International Institute of Ophthalmology & Prabha Eye Clinic and Research Center, Bangalore, India

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Date of Web Publication12-Jun-2010


We report an interesting finding of multiple large drusen in an eviscerated eye with a longstanding retinal detachment. The origin and composition of the drusen is also speculated on the basis of special stains.

Keywords: Evisceration, large drusen, retinal detachment

How to cite this article:
Shenoy SK, Babu K, Prabhakaran VC. Large drusen following long-standing retinal detachment. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2010;53:329-30

How to cite this URL:
Shenoy SK, Babu K, Prabhakaran VC. Large drusen following long-standing retinal detachment. Indian J Pathol Microbiol [serial online] 2010 [cited 2023 Mar 28];53:329-30. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Drusen are localized accumulations of extracellular material that build up below the retinal pigment epithelial layer (RPE) of the eye. [1] The presence of larger and numerous drusen in the macula is a common sign of age-related macular degeneration. [2] Drusen is also well documented in cases of longstanding retinal detachment. [3] We report a case of multiple large drusen following longstanding retinal detachment, documented histologically in an eviscerated eye.

   Case Report Top

A 23-year-old lady presented with a history of recurrent pain and redness in the left nonseeing eye. She gave a history of injury to the left eye at the age of two years. On examination, her vision in the right eye was 20/20 with no perception of light in the left eye. The right eye examination was normal. The left eye was phthisical with a hazy, vascularized cornea. Hyphema was seen in the anterior chamber with no view of the fundus. Ultrasonography (B-scan) of the left eye revealed vitreous opacities with longstanding retinal detachment. Evisceration of the left eye was performed for relief of symptoms and cosmesis. The eviscerated specimen was sent for histopathological examination.


Hematoxylin-eosin stained sections showed a disorganized retina and choroidal tissues with extensive hemorrhage. The cornea showed sub-epithelial fibrosis with calcification of Bowman's membrane and loss of endothelial cells. Multiple-large spherical structures with a fibrillar radiating spoke-like appearance were seen situated beneath the RPE [Figure 1]a. These measured approximately 0.2 mm in diameter and stained positively with periodic acid-Schiff (PAS), Masson trichrome and Luxol fast blue stains [Figure 1] b-d. Micro-calcification was noted in some of the drusen and focal osseous metaplasia was also noted in the specimen.
   Discussion Top

Large drusen following longstanding retinal detachment have been described in isolated case reports. [4] It is unclear why drusen occur following retinal detachment. It may possibly be related to retinal pigment epithelium metaplasia, since, in many cases of chronic retinal detachment, osseous metaplasia of the retinal pigment epithelium and drusen occurs concomitantly. [5] Studies have shown that the chemical composition of this subset of drusen (following retinal detachment) is not very different from age-related drusen. However, in our case they are composed of glycoprotein and collagen (positive staining with Masson trichrome) and this may be a reflection of the fibroblast potential of the retinal pigment epithelium.

Since these large drusen differ significantly in size from the usual drusen, they have to be distinguished from Giant drusen and collagenous spherulosis. Giant drusen are hamartomatous cellular lesions, seen in conditions like tuberous sclerosis. They are usually situated superficially in the optic nerve head and the adjacent retina and are characterized by astrocytic hyperplasia. [6] In contrast, the drusen are acellular. [7] Collagenous spherulosis is an unusual pathologic finding seen in breast lesions, salivary gland tumors and chondroid syringomas. The spherules show a fibrillar structure of concentric or radial spikes associated with micro-calcification and stain positively for PAS and Masson trichrome, [8] similar to drusen. However, while collagenous spherulosis is collagen rich, [9] drusen have a core of glycoprotein and an outer dome of crystallins, lipoproteins and vitronectin together with collagen. [10] They are thus positive for Luxol fast blue in addition to PAS and Masson trichrome as seen in our case.

Very large drusen can occur following chronic retinal detachment and it is important to recognize this finding, not only as a pathological curiosity but also to differentiate it from astrocytic hamartoma and collagenous spherulosis.

   References Top

1.Newsome DA, Huh W, Green WR. Bruch's membrane age-related changes vary by region. Curr Eye Res 1987;6:1211-21.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]    
2.Lengyel I, Tufail A, Hosaini HA, Luthert P, Bird AC, Jeffery G. Association of drusen deposition with choroidal intercapillary pillars in the aging human eye. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2004;45:2886-92.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
3.Hageman GS, Luthert PJ, Victor Chong NH, Johnson LV, Anderson DH, Mullins RF. An integrated hypothesis that considers drusen as biomarkers of immune mediated processes at the RPE-Bruch's membrane interface in aging and age-related macular degeneration. Prog Retin Eye Res 2001;20:705-32.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
4.Chiu CJ, Hubbard LD, Armstrong J, Rogers G, Jacques PF, Chylack LT, et al. Dietary glycemic index and carbohydrate in relation to early age-related macular degeneration. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:880-6.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Vemuganti GK, Honavar SG, Jalali S. Intraocular osseous metaplasia: A clinicopathological study. Ind J Ophthalmol 2002;50:183-8.  Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Daily MJ, Smith JL, Dickens W. Giant drusen (astrocytic hamartoma) of the optic nerve seen with computerised axial tomography. Am J Opthalmol 1976;81:100-1.  Back to cited text no. 6      
7.Weir E. Age-related macular degeneration: Armed against ARMD. CMAJ 2004;170:463-4.  Back to cited text no. 7  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
8.Pesutic-Pisac V, Bezic J, Tomic S. Collagenous spherulosis of the breast in association with in situ carcinoma. Pathologica 2002;94:317-9.  Back to cited text no. 8      
9.Clement PB, Young PH, Azzopardi JG. Collagenous spherulosis of the breast. Am J Surg Pathol 1987;11:411-7.  Back to cited text no. 9      
10.Anderson DH, Ozaki S, Nealon M, Neitz J, Mullins RF, Hageman GS, et al. Local cellular sources of apolipoprotein E in the human retina and retinal pigment epithelium: implications for the process of drusen formation. Am J Ophthalmol 2001;131:767-81.  Back to cited text no. 10  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  

Correspondence Address:
Kalpana Babu
Prabha Eye Clinic & Research Center, 504, 40th Cross, Jayanagar 8th Block, Bangalore - 560 070
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0377-4929.64316

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