Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
September 2020

Four-week outcomes of vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors for neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Shaan Wiryasaputra, Vuong Nguyen, Jennifer J Arnold, Ross Ferrier, Peter Hinchcliffe, Daniel Barthelmes, Mark C Gillies


Importance: To assess early outcomes of intravitreal vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor treatment in neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) before patients have a chance to miss or discontinue treatment.

Background: Intravitreal VEGF inhibitors used to treat nAMD have been compared in various ways. The present study compared the 4-week responses to the first injection of either aflibercept, bevacizumab, or ranibizumab.

Design: Observational study.

Participants: Treatment-naïve nAMD patients with visual acuity (VA) taken 22 to 48 days after the first treatment with an intravitreal VEGF inhibitor.

Methods: An observational study from a prospectively designed database.

Main outcome measures: VA change from baseline and proportion of eyes judged active 22 to 48 days after the first treatment.

Results: The overall mean (95% confidence interval [CI]) VA change at 4 weeks was +3.7 (3.3, 4.0) letters. No pairwise comparisons in crude VA change or VA change after multivariate adjustment between the three agents were significant. However, after multivariate adjustment, more eyes treated with bevacizumab (90%) had active disease 4 weeks after the first injection than ranibizumab (84%; P = .013) and aflibercept (82%; P = .004). Older age, higher baseline vision and larger lesions were associated with lower VA change.

Conclusion: There was no significant difference in VA gains amongst all three drugs but ranibizumab and aflibercept seemed to be more efficacious in quelling disease activity 4 weeks after the first treatment. VA change after the first injection was driven largely by baseline characteristics such as age, baseline VA and lesion size.