Background: Critical prerequisites for successful therapy of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nvAMD) are an early initiation and continuous monitoring; however, delays in starting therapy and non-medically indicated discontinuation of therapy are frequent, which limits therapy efficacy and, thus, visual outcomes.
Objective: To identify the reasons for delay in therapy and non-medically indicated termination of therapy.
Material and methods: Patients who had started a new therapy (starters) and those who independently terminated therapy (dropouts) were interviewed by telephone with a specific, standardized questionnaire. Results were summarized descriptively.
Results: A total of 100 starters and 55 dropouts were interviewed. The mean therapy delay was 22 (±28 SD) days. This was mainly due to the time until the decision to see an ophthalmologist was made. Main reasons for dropping out were: transportation issues (27%), poor general health (25%) and the assumption that there is no benefit from therapy (11%). Of the patients who dropped out 63% would have liked to continue therapy.
Conclusion: There is potential for improvement in nvAMD management regarding therapy start as well as therapy maintenance. Sensitizing for initial nvAMD symptoms is important as is reduction of barriers to therapy maintenance, since most therapy dropouts would like to continue the therapy.
Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration; Anti-VEGF; Healthcare access; Therapy delay; Therapy dropout.