Purpose: To better understand the mechanisms of action of photodynamic therapy (PDT) with verteporfin for subfoveal choroidal neovascularization (CNV), the authors evaluated the retinal and choroidal response immediately after treatment with serial optical coherence tomography (OCT) and indocyanine green angiography (ICGA).
Methods: This study was a prospective, noncomparative case series. PDT was performed on nine eyes of nine consecutive patients who presented with subfoveal CNV due to age-related macular degeneration, and serial evaluation with OCT as well as ICGA was performed at 20-minute intervals for the first 2 hours and then at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months.
Results: In the first 2 hours after PDT, OCT showed an increase in the thickness of the retina in the treatment area due to fluid leakage from the neovascular complex as confirmed by ICGA. At 1 week, marked reduction of intraretinal/subretinal fluid was observed in all patients. Neovascular complex nonperfusion by ICGA was associated with some degree of choroidal hypoperfusion in the treatment area. Return of the foveal contour by OCT was optimal after 1 month of treatment. At 3 months, choroidal reperfusion by ICGA and recurrent intraretinal/subretinal fluid by OCT were observed.
Conclusions: Serial OCT and ICGA evaluation after PDT suggests that the initial successful CNV nonperfusion as shown by fluorescein angiography at 1 week occurs by means of selective PDT damage to the lesion and/or reduced choroidal blood flow in the treatment area, thereby decreasing intraretinal/subretinal fluid and facilitating restoration of the retinal architecture.