Acta Ophthalmologica
September 2021

Real-world treatment outcomes of neovascular Age-related Macular Degeneration in the Netherlands

Frank D Verbraak, Dirk L Ponsioen, Odette A M Tigchelaar-Besling, Vuong Nguyen, Mark C Gillies, Daniel Barthelmes, Caroline C W Klaver


Purpose: To compare treatment outcomes of treatment-naïve eyes with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) with bevacizumab as the first-line treatment, according to the guidelines of the Dutch Ophthalmological Society, with those treated first with either ranibizumab or aflibercept, as used in many other countries, all treated using a treat-and-extend strategy.

Methods: Data were obtained from the prospectively designed Fight Retinal Blindness! outcomes registry. The primary outcome was the mean change from baseline in visual acuity of all treated eyes, after 12, 24 and 36 months of treatment. Secondary outcomes were the number of injections, the number of visits and the rate of switching to a second anti-VEGF drug.

Results: The study included 703 treatment-naïve eyes with nAMD with 12 months follow-up, 373 eyes with 24 months follow-up, and 171 eyes with 36 months follow-up in the Netherlands, and 1131, 652, and 303 treatment-naïve eyes with respectively 12, 24, and 36 months of follow-up in all other countries. The change in visual acuity from baseline did not differ between the Netherlands and the other countries at any follow-up time. The median number of injections, visits and the proportion of eyes switching treatment was significantly higher in the Netherlands than in the other countries.

Conclusion: Starting anti-VEGF treatment for nAMD with bevacizumab, as is mandatory in the Netherlands, delivers outcomes similar to those starting treatment with either ranibizumab or aflibercept, but at a cost of more frequent injections, and visits, and more frequent switching treatment to a second drug.