Changes in retinal microvasculature and visual acuity after antivascular endothelial growth factor therapy in retinal vein occlusion

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Abstract

PURPOSE. To investigate the changes in the retinal microvasculature during the course of anti-VEGF therapy in eyes with macular edema due to retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and their association with visual outcomes. METHODS. The vessel density (VD) and foveal avascular zone (FAZ) area in the superficial capillary plexus (SCP) and deep capillary plexus (DCP) were quantitatively measured by optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) in 48 consecutive eyes with RVO before and 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after anti-VEGF therapy. Anti-VEGF therapy was performed either with ranibizumab or aflibercept following a pro re nata (PRN) regimen. The correlation between post-treatment best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) and changes in the retinal microvasculature evaluated by OCTA were assessed. RESULTS. The BCVA improved significantly at 12 months (P < 0.001). Better BCVA at 12 months was significantly associated with a better VD in the SCP and DCP both at baseline (R 2 = 0.524, P < 0.001 and R 2 = 0.457, P < 0.001, respectively) and at 12 months (R 2 = 0.521, P < 0.001 and R 2 = 0.662, P < 0.001, respectively). Overall, both VD and FAZ did not change significantly during the 12 months. However, the progression of nonperfusion was observed in the SCP in 6 (13%) eyes and in the DCP in 10 (21%) eyes. The number of macular edema recurrence was significantly associated with a decrease in the VD (P = 0.006 [SCP] and P < 0.001 [DCP]) and less visual gain (P = 0.02) after treatment. CONCLUSIONS. Anti-VEGF therapy maintains retinal perfusion in most patients with RVO. Preserving retinal perfusion is crucial for better visual outcomes.

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Winegarner, A., Wakabayashi, T., Fukushima, Y., Sato, T., Hara-Ueno, C., Busch, C., … Nishida, K. (2018). Changes in retinal microvasculature and visual acuity after antivascular endothelial growth factor therapy in retinal vein occlusion. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 59(7), 2708–2716. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23437

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