Functional and morphological changes in diabetic macular edema over the course of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment

Lukas Reznicek, Sarah Cserhati, Florian Seidensticker, Raffael Liegl, Anselm Kampik, Michael Ulbig, Aljoscha S Neubauer, Marcus Kernt
Acta Ophthalmologica 2013, 91 (7): e529-36

PURPOSE: To evaluate macular morphology and function in diabetic macular edema (DME) over the course of intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatment with Ranibizumab.

METHODS: A consecutive series of 39 study eyes with centre-involving DME were included in this study. In all subjects, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) according ETDRS protocol, fluorescein angiography (FA), microperimetric macular sensitivity (MP) and Spectral Domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) cross-sectional scans were obtained before treatment and after 3 monthly applied intravitreal Ranibizumab injections. Six different morphological qualities [IS/OS layer integrity, outer nuclear layer (ONL) cysts, ONL cyst size, inner nuclear layer (INL) cysts, blocking phenomenon and subretinal fluid] were graded of each cross-sectional OCT scan before and over the course of treatment by two experienced graders. Correlation analyses between functional and morphological parameters were obtained.

RESULTS: Mean BCVA increased from 26 ± 14 to 33 ± 13 letters after 3 consecutive monthly applied Ranibizumab injections (p < 0.001). Central retinal thickness (CRT) decreased from 504 ± 144 to 387 ± 122 μm (p < 0.001). Over the course of treatment, IS/OS continuity improved (index: 0.56 ± 0.52 to 0.43 ± 0.49, Z = -1.415, p = 0.157), ONL cyst prevalence and size decreased significantly (index: 0.61 ± 0.44 to 0.56 ± 0.35, Z = -3.41, p = 0.001 and 1.75 ± 0.88 to 1.17 ± 1.05, Z = -4.02, p < 0.001), INL cyst prevalence decreased (index: 0.35 ± 0.52 to 0.28 ± 0.52, Z = -1.60, p = 0.109), blocking phenomenon did not change significantly (index: 00.12 ± 0.16 to 0.13 ± 0.15, Z = -0.45, p = 0.656) and subretinal fluid almost disappeared (index: 0.10 ± 0.24 vs. 0.00 ± 0.01, Z = -2.56, p = 0.011). Correlation analyses revealed highest significant correlations between ONL cyst prevalence and their size and CRT as well as BCVA and MP before treatment and over the course of treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: ONL cysts and their size as morphological parameters correlate with retinal function measured with BCVA and microperimetry before and over the course of anti-VEGF therapy with Ranibizumab in patients with DME.

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