Purpose: To assess the effects of intravitreal injection of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rTPA) and gas on submacular hemorrhage in age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
Methods: Eleven consecutive patients (11 eyes) with subretinal hemorrhage due to ARMD involving the fovea with elevation of the neurosensory retina were included in this study. Subretinal hemorrhage occured 12 h to 14 days before onset of therapy. Injection of rTPA through the pars plana in a dose of 50 or 100 microg was performed. Gas instillation (0.2-0.4 ml) followed rTPA injection, either immediately after injection (7 patients) or during the following day (4 patients).
Results: After intravitreal injection of rTPA, subretinal clots were totally or partially liquefied when treatment started up to 3 days after onset of bleeding. In all patients treated with 100 microg rTPA a large exudative retinal detachment of the inferior retina resulted, which reabsorbed spontaneously within 2 weeks. After reattachment of the exudative retinal detachment hyperpigmentation of the retinal pigment epithelium was noted. Temporary opacification of the vitreous was observed between the 2nd and 7th postoperative day in 5 eyes (45.5%). Postoperative visual acuity increased in 5 patients (45.5%).
Conclusion: Intravitreal application of rTPA followed by gas injection is a sufficient and convenient technique for effective removal of freshly formed submacular hemorrhage. Removal is mediated through combined enzymatic (rTPA) and mechanical (gas) effects. This technique offers a quick recovery of vision in eyes with less severe ARMD.