Early SD-OCT diagnosis followed by prompt treatment of radiation maculopathy using intravitreal bevacizumab maintains functional visual acuity

Clin Ophthalmol. 2012;6:1739-48. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S34949. Epub 2012 Oct 29.


Purpose: To evaluate the benefits of intravitreal bevacizumab in patients with visually compromising radiation maculopathy following iodine-125 plaque brachytherapy for uveal melanoma.

Methods: In this Institutional Review Board-approved, consecutive, retrospective study from 2006-2009 of patients maintaining 20/50 or better vision following treatment for visually compromising radiation maculopathy, patients were evaluated with spectral domain optical coherence tomography at 2-4 month intervals following plaque removal. Treatment with intra-vitreal bevacizumab commenced at the first signs of radiation vasculopathy on spectral domain optical coherence tomography with associated decreased best corrected visual acuity, followed by repeat injections for recurrent or persistent vasculopathic changes.

Results: At 3 years following plaque brachytherapy, 81 of 159 (50.9%) patients treated for radiation maculopathy demonstrated 20/50 or better vision at median follow up of 36 months, which demonstrates significant improvement in vision as compared to the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (P < 0.0001). These 81 patients were given a mean of five injections (range 1-17) over a mean of 17.6 months (range 1-54 months), starting at 15.8 months (range 3-50 months) after plaque brachytherapy. For those eyes that maintained 20/50 or better vision at the final follow-up, pretreatment mean best corrected visual acuity of 20/43 improved to 20/31.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that spectral domain optical coherence tomography can detect early vasculopathic changes secondary to radiation maculopathy and that prompt treatment with intravitreal bevacizumab may delay vision loss and maintain or possibly improve visual acuity in half of eyes diagnosed with radiation maculopathy. Radiation maculopathy remains a therapeutically manageable morbidity associated with radiation therapy for posterior uveal melanoma.

Keywords: BCVA; intravitreal bevacizumab; plaque brachytherapy; radiation maculopathy; uveal melanoma.