Translational vision science & technology
November 2021

Three-Year Outcomes of Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Eyes That Do Not Develop Macular Atrophy or Subretinal Fibrosis

Pierre-Henry Gabrielle, Vuong Nguyen, Jennifer J Arnold, Sanjeeb Bhandari, Francesco Viola, Odette A M Tigchelaar-Besling, Gonzaga Garay-Aramburu, Louise O’Toole, Chui Ming Gemmy Cheung, Daniel Barthelmes, Catherine Creuzot-Garcher, Mark Gillies


Purpose: To report the 36-month treatment outcomes of eyes with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) receiving vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors in daily practice who did not develop either subretinal fibrosis (SRFi) or macular atrophy (MA).

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of data from the Fight Retinal Blindness registry. Treatment-naïve eyes starting intravitreal injection of VEGF inhibitors for nAMD from January 1, 2010, to September 1, 2017, and did not have SRFI and MA at baseline were tracked.

Results: We identified 2478 eligible eyes, of which 1712 eyes did not develop SRFi or MA, 291 developed extrafoveal SRFI or MA, and 475 developed subfoveal SRFi or MA over 36 months. The estimated visual acuity stabilized from 6 months to 36 months in eyes that did not develop SRFI or MA with a mean (95% confidence interval [CI]) change in VA of -1 (-2, 0) letters, whereas eyes that developed extrafoveal (-3 [-5, -2] letters) or subfoveal (-10 [-11, -8] letters) SRFi or MA declined in vision in the same period. Eyes with no or extrafoveal SRFi or MA over 36 months were more likely to maintain their visual improvement from six months to 36 months (odds ratio [OR; 95% CI] = 2.3 [1.5, 3.3] for absence vs. subfoveal SRFi or MA, P ≤ 0.01 and OR = 2.0 [1.2, 3.4] for extrafoveal vs. subfoveal MA or SRFi, P = 0.01).

Conclusions: Treatment-naïve nAMD eyes receiving VEGF inhibitors maintain their initial six-month visual improvement over three years if they do not develop SRFI or MA.

Translational relevance: The nAMD is still a major cause of blindness despite antiangiogenic treatments. We found that eyes that did not develop subretinal fibrosis or macular atrophy maintained their initial vision improvement for at least three years, suggesting that identifying treatments for these complications is the final barrier to achieving excellent outcomes in nAMD.