Purpose: We prospectively evaluated a new treatment for recalcitrant choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in 4 patients. We used an infrared laser (810 nm) in oscillatory thermotherapy (OTT) mode combined with indocyanine green (ICG) dye, utilizing the beneficial effect of both thermotherapy and photodynamic therapy. We describe preliminary experiences with ICG-assisted OTT (I-OTT) combined with intravitreal bevacizumab/dexamethasone for refractory peripapillary CNV resistant to standard therapy.
Methods: Clinical examination, funduscopy, fluorescein angiography, and optical coherence tomography were performed at baseline and postoperatively. Infrared laser spot size was approximately one-half the lesion size (oscillation 2-3 Hz). Intravitreal injections of bevacizumab (1.25 mg) and dexamethasone (1000 µg) were done during the same visit.
Results: Mean follow-up was 12.5 months (range 5-17). Mean energy level was 325 mW (range 200-500) in oscillatory mode (2-3 Hz/sec) pre- and post-ICG infusion. Indocyanine green dose was approximately 1 mg/kg (75 mg/patient). All patients had a single treatment. Mean visual acuity improved in 1 patient from 20/60 to 20/30 and remained the same in the other 3 (20/20, 20/40, and 20/400). At final examination, there was no evidence of clinical or angiographic activity of CNV.
Conclusions: Indocyanine green-assisted OTT has the potential to treat CNV in wet age-related macular degeneration. It may reduce thermal side effects and eliminate or reduce the need for frequent intravitreal treatment. We postulate that I-OTT has a synergistic effect of thermal energy combined with a weak photosensitizer (ICG) applied in an individualized manner, which minimizes thermal damage to retinal and choroidal tissue. Additional anti-vascular endothelial growth factor pharmacotherapy enhances the effect of I-OTT on abnormal new vessels.