Pseudoflow with OCT angiography in eyes with hard exudates and macular drusen

Kirk K. Hou, Adrian Au, Amir H. Kashani, K. Bailey Freund, Srinivas R. Sadda, David Sarraf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To analyze ‘‘pseudoflow, ’’ a false positive flow-artifact observed with optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) of stationary hyperreflective structures corresponding to hard exudates and macular drusen. Methods: Retrospective case series of patients with hard exudates (due to diabetic macular edema [DME] or retinal vein occlusion [RVO]) or macular drusen (due to nonneovascular, or dry, age-related macular degeneration [AMD]) studied with OCTA by using volume-based projection artifact removal (3D PAR). Results: OCTA of 20 eyes (10 DME/10 RVO) with hard exudates were analyzed. All eyes exhibited pseudoflow corresponding to hard exudates. Seven eyes concurrently demonstrated hard exudates without pseudoflow that were noted in areas lacking vascular flow in the overlying retina. Eight eyes exhibited suspended scattering particles in motion. In 26 of 30 eyes with nonneovascular AMD, pseudoflow associated with macular drusen of any type was noted. Two of 11 eyes with small drusen, 16 of 17 eyes with medium or large drusen, 5 of 5 eyes with drusenoid pigment epithelial detachment, 12 of 16 eyes with ribbon-like subretinal drusenoid deposits, and 13 of 17 eyes with dot-like SDD exhibited pseudoflow. Conclusions: Pseudoflow due to projection artifact is common in eyes with hard exudates or macular drusen. 3D PAR reduces but does not eliminate pseudoflow, and pseudoflow may be detected within the foveal avascular zone, indicating that other factors, such as Z-axis micromotion, may also contribute to pseudoflow. Translational Relevance: This study provides insight into the etiology of pseudoflow noted on OCTA and will guide more accurate clinical interpretation and investigation of OCTA images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalTranslational Vision Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Artifact
  • Macular edema
  • OCTA
  • RVO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ophthalmology


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