Objective: To determine if photodynamic therapy with verteporfin (Visudyne; CIBA Vision Corp, Duluth, GA) can improve the chance of stabilizing or improving vision (<8 letter loss) safely in patients with subfoveal choroidal neovascularization (CNV) caused by pathologic myopia.
Design: Multicenter, double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial at 28 ophthalmology practices in Europe and North AMERICA:
Participants: One hundred twenty patients with subfoveal CNV caused by pathologic myopia with a greatest linear dimension no more than 5400 microM and best-corrected visual acuity (Snellen equivalent) of approximately 20/100 or better.
Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned (2:1) to verteporfin (6 mg per square meter of body surface area; n = 81) or placebo (5% dextrose in water; n = 39) administered via intravenous infusion of 30 ml over 10 minutes. Fifteen minutes after the start of the infusion, a laser light at 689 nm was delivered at an intensity of 600 mW/cm(2) over 83 seconds to give a light dose of 50 J/cm(2) to a round spot size on the retina with a diameter of 1000, microM larger than the greatest linear dimension of the choroidal neovascular lesion. At follow-up examinations every 3 months, retreatment with either verteporfin or placebo (as assigned at baseline) was applied to areas of fluorescein leakage if present.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was the proportion of eyes at the follow-up examination 12 months after study entry with fewer than eight letters (approximately 1.5 lines) of visual acuity lost, adhering to an intent-to-treat analysis.
Results: At baseline, more than 90% of each group had evidence of classic CNV (regardless of whether occult CNV was present) and only 12 (15%) and 5 (13%) cases in the verteporfin and placebo groups, respectively, had occult CNV (regardless of whether classic CNV was present). Seventy-nine of the 81 verteporfin-treated patients (98%) compared with 36 of the 39 placebo-treated patients (92%) completed the month 12 examination. Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and fluorescein angiographic outcomes were better in the verteporfin-treated eyes than in the placebo-treated eyes at every follow-up examination through the month 12 examination. At the month 12 examination, 58 (72%) of the verteporfin-treated patients compared with 17 (44%) of the placebo-treated patients lost fewer than eight letters (P < 0.01), including 26 (32%) versus 6 (15%) improving at least five letters (>/=1 line). Seventy (86%) of the verteporfin-treated patients compared with 26 (67%) of the placebo-treated patients lost fewer than 15 letters (P = 0.01). Few ocular or other systemic adverse events were associated with verteporfin therapy compared with placebo treatment.
Conclusions: Because photodynamic therapy with verteporfin can safely increase the chance of stabilizing or improving vision in patients with subfoveal CNV from pathologic myopia compared with a placebo, we recommend ophthalmologists consider verteporfin therapy for treatment of such patients.