Objective: To evaluate the short-term fluorescein angiographic and visual acuity effects of a single intravitreal injection of bevacizumab (Avastin) for the management of persistent new vessels (NV) associated with diabetic retinopathy.
Methods: A prospective, nonrandomized open-label study of diabetic patients with actively leaking NV refractory to laser treatment and best-corrected Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study visual acuity (BCVA) worse than 20/40. Standardized ophthalmic evaluation was performed at baseline and at weeks 1, 6, and 12 (+/-1) following intravitreal injection of 1.5 mg of bevacizumab. Main outcome measures include changes in total area of fluorescein leakage from active NV and BCVA.
Results: Fifteen consecutive patients (men, 9 [60%]; women, 6 [40%]) were included and all completed the 12-week follow-up period of the study. The mean +/- SD age of participants was 60.08 +/- 7.75 years (median, 59.5; range, 49-73 years). At baseline, mean +/- standard error of the mean (SEM) NV leakage area was 27.79 +/- 6.29 mm2. The mean +/- SEM area of active leaking NV decreased significantly to 5.43 +/- 2.18 mm2 and 5.50 +/- 1.24 mm2 (P < 0.05, Tukey multiple comparisons post-test) at 1 and 12 weeks postinjection, respectively; at week 6 no leakage was observed. The mean +/- SEM logMAR (Snellen equivalent) BCVA improved significantly from 0.90 (20/160) +/- 0.11 at baseline to 0.76 (20/125(+2)) +/- 0.12, 0.77 (20/125(+2)) +/- 0.11, and 0.77 (20/125(+2)) +/- 0.12 at weeks 1, 6, and 12, respectively (P < 0.05, Tukey multiple comparisons post-test). No major adverse events were observed.
Conclusions: Intravitreal injection of bevacizumab achieved short-term reduction of fluorescein leakage from persistent active NV without loss of vision in patients with diabetic retinopathy. Further studies to investigate the role of anti-VEGF therapy with bevacizumab for the management of diabetic retinopathy refractory to laser treatment are warranted.