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Central subfield thickness predicts visual acuity outcomes in plaque-irradiated eyes with choroidal melanoma.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between pre-operative central subfield thickness (CST) and post-radiotherapy visual acuity (VA), cystoid macular edema (CME), and intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) requirement.

DESIGN: Single-center retrospective study.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients with plaque-irradiated extramacular choroidal melanoma treated between 11/11/2011 and 4/30/2021. Pre-operative CST difference between the affected and unaffected eye was used. Kaplan-Meier analysis and hazard ratios were calculated.

RESULTS: Of 85 patients, pre-operative CST was greater in the melanoma-affected eye (vs. fellow eye) by mean of 20.4 μm (median 14.0, range - 60.0-182.0). Greater CST at presentation (vs. fellow eye) was associated with larger tumor diameter (p = 0.02), greater tumor thickness (p < 0.001), and more frequent tumor-related Bruch's membrane rupture (p = 0.006). On univariate analysis of outcome data, greater CST at presentation (vs. fellow eye) was associated with higher 5-year risk (1.09 [1.02-1.17], p = 0.02) of VA 20/200 or worse and increased (1.10 [1.01-1.20], p = 0.03) likelihood for anti-VEGF injections after plaque irradiation. There was no significant association with CME. The association between CST and VA outcome remained significant on multivariate analysis accounting for impact of tumor thickness and radiation dose to optic disc, while tumor distance to fovea was the only significant factor on multivariate analysis for anti-VEGF injections.

CONCLUSION: Greater CST at presentation (vs. fellow eye) was associated with worse VA outcome following plaque radiotherapy for choroidal melanoma. Large-sized tumors may contribute to a higher intraocular VEGF burden, potentially leading to greater preoperative CST, which correlates with poor VA outcome post-plaque radiotherapy.

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