Predictors of short-term visual outcome after anti-VEGF therapy of macular edema due to central retinal vein occlusion

Ute E K Wolf-Schnurrbusch, Ramzi Ghanem, Simon P Rothenbuehler, Volker Enzmann, Carsten Framme, Sebastian Wolf
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 2011, 52 (6): 3334-7

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to analyze predictive factors for best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) after anti-VEGF treatment in patients with macular edema (ME) secondary to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO).

METHODS: This prospective study enrolled treatment-naive patients with ME secondary to CRVO. BCVA, ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography, and spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging were performed. SD-OCT was analyzed for integrity of the external limiting membrane (ELM), photoreceptor inner segments (IS), and outer segments (OS). Patients were treated with intravitreal bevacizumab (1.25 mg) or ranibizumab (0.5 mg). BCVA outcome was analyzed 4 weeks after the first injection.

RESULTS: Sixty-two eyes of 62 patients (39 men, 23 women; mean age: 67 ±16 years) were included. In 55%, the ELM was intact. These eyes also showed intact photoreceptor IS/OS in horizontal and vertical single scans. Disturbed ELM was seen in 45% and was accompanied by focal disintegration of IS/OS. Four weeks after injection, 58% showed clinically relevant increases of BCVA (≥5 letters). Mean BCVA ranged from 20 to 86 letters. The mean BCVA increase was 18 ± 12 letters in eyes with intact ELM compared with 4 ± 10 letters with disturbed ELM (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Depending on the integrity of the outer retinal layers, the authors observed rapid and clinically relevant improvement in BCVA after the first anti-VEGF injection. In the development of an optimal treatment regime, the indication for treatment and re-treatment should be based on functional and morphologic findings, such as the deterioration of outer retinal layers. Intact ELM in SD-OCT imaging is associated with better visual outcomes after intravitreal anti-VEGF treatment in patients with ME secondary to CRVO.

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