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Keywords:

  • bevacizumab;
  • choroidal neovascularization;
  • age-related macular degeneration;
  • angioid streaks;
  • retinal angiomatous proliferation;
  • peripapillary neovascularization

Abstract.

Purpose:  This study aimed to assess the pharmacodynamic profile of intravitreal bevacizumab in relation to best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), foveal thickness, and other aspects of macular morphology after intravitreal injection of bevacizumab in eyes with subretinal choroidal neovascularization (CNV).

Methods:  A retrospective observational, uncontrolled case series including 26 eyes in 25 patients followed for up to 6 months after intravitreal injection of bevacizumab 1 mg repeated as deemed necessary after monthly assessments by biomicroscopy, optical coherence tomography, colour fundus photography, fluorescein angiography and BCVA determination. At follow-up, cases were classified by morphological treatment response (reduction or elimination of pathological neovascular leakage, retinal thickening or serous retinal detachment) or absence of response (deterioration or lack of improvement). Primary disease entities included age-related macular degeneration (22 eyes, four of which had evidence of retinal angiomatous proliferation), idiopathic peripapillary neovascularization (one eye), and angioid streaks (three eyes in two patients).

Results:  One month after the first injection, apparent morphological improvement was observed in 24/26 eyes and mean BCVA had improved by 3.1 ± 7.8 letters (p = 0.05). Of these 24 responders, which included all primary diagnoses, 11 (46%) demonstrated BCVA improvement of ≥ 5 letters. The two non-responders (7.7%) had lost > 3 lines of vision at 2 months follow-up. Overall, 18 eyes completed 6 months follow-up, with a mean BCVA improvement of 0.5 ± 12.7 letters, and 22 eyes completed 3 months follow-up, with a mean BCVA improvement of 2.0 ± 11.0 letters. Two months after the first injection, 11 (46%) of the 24 responders demonstrated signs of recurrent CNV activity, defined as decreased BCVA and/or increased retinal thickness and/or fluorescein angiographic CNV leakage. No serious drug-related adverse events were observed during the course of the study.

Conclusions:  Overall mean BCVA remained stable throughout the study. Morphological signs of reduced CNV activity were seen in the majority of eyes at 2–4 weeks after intravitreal bevacizumab injection. Half the responders showed signs of renewed CNV activity at 2 months after their first injection. All first-injection responders were also second-injection responders.