Purpose: To evaluate functional and anatomic effects of intravitreal bevacizumab (Avastin; Roche Pharma, Vienna, Austria) in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with large submacular hemorrhages.
Design: Retrospective, clinical study.
Methods: Twenty-one eyes of 19 AMD patients with choroidal neovascularization and large submacular hemorrhage involving the fovea comprising more than 50% of the total lesion area were evaluated. All patients completed at least four months of follow-up; 12 patients fulfilled 12 months or more of follow-up. Patients were treated with up to six intravitreal bevacizumab injections (1 mg/0.04 ml) at a minimum of four-week intervals. Changes from baseline visual acuity (VA) scores, retinal measurements by optical coherence tomography (OCT), angiographic lesion characteristics, and hemorrhage size were analyzed. A safety assessment was performed at all visits.
Results: Intravitreal bevacizumab injections were well tolerated in all patients. At month 4, VA was stable or improved (visual loss of 3 acuity lines or fewer) in 100% and improved by at least 3 lines in 9.5%. Comparable results were found at month 12. On average, the central foveal thickness decreased significantly by 55 microm four weeks after the first injection (P < .001) and by 52 microm at month 4 (P = .002). A significant anatomic improvement also was found for maximum retinal thickness, minimum retinal thickness, and foveal volume (P < .05) and was maintained during four months of follow-up. Mean size of hemorrhage was significantly reduced from 19.7 mm(2) at baseline to 2.5 mm(2) at the four-month follow-up (P < .001).
Conclusions: Intravitreal bevacizumab seems to be a promising therapeutic option in eyes with neovascular AMD and large submacular hemorrhages, with a stabilization in VA and anatomic improvement.