Polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV) refers to a network of abnormal, large, thin-walled blood vessels that originate from the choroid and form beneath the pigment epithelial layer of the retina. Because of where these vessels proliferate, they are classified as a form of type 1 neovascularization, with a distinct difference: the vessels end in polyp-like lesions. The lesions actively bleed and frequently cause detachments of the pigment epithelial layer and the retina. PCV may occur on its own, or it may be associated with neovascular AMD. Because new vessels and resulting lesions tend to form nearer the optic nerve head than other types of neovascularization, vision is often not as greatly affected.
PCV occurs most often in people 50 years and older and in African-Americans and Asians more than in whites. In severe cases, laser photocoagulation has had some success in stopping active bleeding at the lesions, despite their location beneath the pigment epithelium. A single treatment with an anti-vegf agent, such as Avastin, may also be used with success. Treatment of PCV is determined on a case-by-case basis.