Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography Signs of Vascular Abnormalization With Antiangiogenic Therapy for Choroidal Neovascularization

Am J Ophthalmol. 2015 Jul;160(1):6-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2015.04.012. Epub 2015 Apr 14.


Purpose: To investigate the vascular appearance of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) treated with recurrent intravitreous anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections, which have been proposed to cause transient vascular normalization along with decreased vascularity and leakage.

Design: Retrospective case series with perspective on the topic.

Methods: Patients with treated CNV secondary to age-related macular degeneration from a community-based retinal referral practice were evaluated with optical coherence tomography angiography employing split-spectrum amplitude decorrelation. The choroidal neovascular morphology of the 17 eyes of 14 consecutive patients was described.

Results: The mean age of the patients, 8 men and 6 women, was 78.4 (standard deviation ± 9.3) years. The mean greatest linear dimension of the lesion was 3600 μm. The mean number of anti-VEGF injections was 47 (±21). The vascular diameter of the vessels in the CNV appeared large even in small lesions, with feeder vessels approaching the size of the major arcade vessels of the retina. The vessels had few branch points and many vascular anastomotic connections among larger vessels. There was a paucity of capillaries visualized within the lesions.

Conclusions: The findings of this study do not support the hypothesis of vascular normalization in eyes receiving recurrent periodic antiangiogenic treatment. The observed "abnormalization" of the vessels may be explained by periodic pruning of angiogenic vascular sprouts by VEGF withdrawal in the face of unimpeded arteriogenesis. As the eye is a readily accessible VEGF laboratory, features expressed therein may also apply to neovascularization elsewhere in the body, such as in tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Choroid / blood supply*
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / diagnosis*
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / drug therapy*
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Intravitreal Injections
  • Macular Degeneration / complications
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A