A novel form of therapy, the intravitreal ganciclovir implant(Vitrasert®), was used to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in AIDS, when it was not possible to continue systemic therapy or disease progression was evident despite conventional intravenous treatment.
A review of the ophthalmic and general health data, operative records and fundus photographs of 9 individuals who had Vitrasert implantation surgery in Edinburgh. Two patients received bilateral replacement implant procedures. Visual acuity, concomitant anti-CMV therapy, complications of implantation and control of retinitis were documented until final follow-up.
Control of CMV retinitis was achieved in all individuals at one month postoperatively and remained controlled for a mean period of 5.8 months. Postoperative complications were mild and transient in all but 2 eyes of 2 patients who developed non-progressive macula oedema. Blinding complications as a result of surgery were not encountered and retinal detachment was not observed in this series.
Vitrasert implantation is an acceptable and well tolerated treatment for CMV retinitis when systemic therapy fails to control disease progression.