Hemorrhagic complications after photodynamic therapy for polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy

Retina. 2007 Mar;27(3):335-41. doi: 10.1097/01.iae.0000233647.78726.46.


Purpose: To evaluate the clinical features and risk factors of hemorrhagic complications in eyes with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV) after photodynamic therapy (PDT).

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed data for 91 consecutive eyes of 85 patients who underwent PDT for the treatment of PCV. The diagnosis of PCV was based on indocyanine green angiographic findings, showing a branching vascular network terminating in polypoidal swelling. The greatest linear dimension included all polypoidal lesions, leaking vascular network, and type 2 choroidal neovascularization.

Results: During the follow-up period after PDT, postoperative subretinal hemorrhage was seen in 28 (30.8%) of 91 eyes. In 22 (78.6%) of these 28 eyes, subretinal hemorrhage was absorbed without treatment. In 6 eyes (21.4%), however, bleeding resulted in vitreous hemorrhage, and 2 eyes underwent pars plana vitrectomy. Although visual acuity was maintained or increased in 18 (81.8%) of 22 eyes with subretinal hemorrhage alone, it decreased significantly in 3 (50.0%) of 6 eyes with postoperative vitreous hemorrhage. Various systemic diseases and medication with an anticoagulant had no correlation with these hemorrhagic complications. Laser irradiation spot size for PDT was significantly larger in eyes with postoperative vitreous hemorrhage (P = 0.017) than in those without.

Conclusion: Subretinal hemorrhage after PDT can be a common complication in patients with PCV and may have a minor effect on visual outcome. However, postoperative hemorrhage is occasionally so massive that it leads to vitreous hemorrhage and poor visual prognosis. When considering PDT for eyes with a large PCV lesion, ophthalmologists should be aware of the risk of serious hemorrhagic complications.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Choroid / blood supply*
  • Coloring Agents
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Porphyrins / therapeutic use
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prognosis
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Retinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Verteporfin
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitreous Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Vitreous Hemorrhage / etiology*


  • Coloring Agents
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Porphyrins
  • Verteporfin
  • Indocyanine Green