Evolving Treatment Patterns and Outcomes of Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration Over a Decade

Ophthalmol Retina. 2021 Aug;5(8):e11-e22. doi: 10.1016/j.oret.2021.04.001. Epub 2021 Apr 16.


Purpose: Management of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) has evolved over the last decade with several treatment regimens and medications. This study describes the treatment patterns and visual outcomes over 10 years in a large cohort of patients.

Design: Retrospective analysis of electronic health records from 27 National Health Service secondary care healthcare providers in the UK.

Participants: Treatment-naïve patients receiving at least 3 intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections for nAMD in their first 6 months of follow-up were included. Patients with missing data for age or gender and those aged less than 55 years were excluded.

Methods: Eyes with at least 3 years of follow-up were grouped by years of treatment initiation, and 3-year outcomes were compared between the groups. Data were generated during routine clinical care between September 2008 and December 2018.

Main outcome measures: Visual acuity (VA), number of injections, and number of visits.

Results: A total of 15 810 eyes of 13 705 patients receiving 195 104 injections were included. Visual acuity improved from baseline during the first year, but decreased thereafter, resulting in loss of visual gains. This trend remained consistent throughout the past decade. Although an increasing proportion of eyes remained in the driving standard, this was driven by better presenting VA over the decade. The number of injections decreased substantially between the first and subsequent years, from a mean of 6.25 in year 1 to 3 in year 2 and 2.5 in year 3, without improvement over the decade. In a multivariable regression analysis, final VA improved by 0.24 letters for each year since 2008, and younger age and baseline VA were significantly associated with VA at 3 years.

Conclusions: Our findings show that despite improvement in functional VA over the years, primarily driven by improving baseline VA, patients continue to lose vision after the first year of treatment, with only marginal change over the past decade. The data suggest these results may be related to suboptimal treatment patterns, which have not improved over the years. Rethinking treatment strategies may be warranted, possibly on a national level or through the introduction of longer-acting therapies.

Keywords: AMD; Aflibercept; Anti-VEGF; ETDRS; Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study; Electronic health records; Ranibizumab.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Intravitreal Injections / statistics & numerical data
  • Macula Lutea / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ranibizumab / administration & dosage*
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / administration & dosage*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Visual Acuity*
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Wet Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • aflibercept
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Ranibizumab