Purpose: To determine whether the time span between initial symptoms and treatment with ranibizumab in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration has an effect on visual outcome.
Method: In this retrospective study, 45 patients with exudative age-related macular degeneration were split into 3 groups depending on the duration of visual symptoms--Group I: <1 month, Group II: 1 month to 6 months, and Group III: >6 months. Best-corrected visual acuity, clinical ophthalmologic examination, and central retinal thickness as measured by optical coherence tomography were recorded at baseline and 2 months later. Fluorescein angiography was performed at baseline. Treatment consisted of 2 intravitreal injections of 1.25 mg of ranibizumab at baseline and after 4 weeks.
Results: The mean time span between initial symptoms and treatment was 59 ± 62 days. In all groups, a reduction of retinal thickness was observed. Shorter disease duration, as estimated by persistence of visual symptoms, was correlated with a better visual outcome after treatment. Patients in Group I demonstrated a significant increase in best-corrected visual acuity (P = 0.007). Patients of Group II (P = 0.095) and Group III (P = 0.271) still achieved a visual improvement in best-corrected visual acuity, albeit not significant. The mean change in best-corrected visual acuity was 0.08 ± 0.1 in all patients and was not statistically significant between groups (P = 0.87).
Conclusion: Duration of visual symptoms <1 month before treatment is associated with a better visual outcome. Treatment of new-onset wet age-related macular degeneration should be initiated as soon as possible.