NATURAL COURSE OF PATIENTS DISCONTINUING TREATMENT FOR AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION AND FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH VISUAL PROGNOSIS

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate the 24-month natural course of visual changes in patients discontinuing treatment despite persistent or recurrent fluid and factors predictive of visual prognosis.

Methods:

This retrospective, observational study included 35 patients (35 eyes) who initially received anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but discontinued treatment despite persistent or recurrent fluid. The best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) at treatment discontinuation was determined and compared with the 24-month BCVA, which was then compared between polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy and other neovascular age-related macular degeneration subtypes. Baseline characteristics predictive of visual outcome and the degree of visual change were also analyzed.

Results:

The mean number of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections before treatment discontinuation was 4.0 ± 1.6. The mean logarithm of minimal angle of resolution of BCVA at treatment discontinuation and that at 24 months were 1.02 ± 0.20 (Snellen equivalents = 20/209) and 1.60 ± 0.56 (20/796), respectively (P < 0.001). The 24-month BCVA was not different between polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy and other neovascular age-related macular degeneration subtypes (P = 0.803). The type of fluid (intraretinal fluid vs. no intraretinal fluid) was predictive of 24-month BCVA (P = 0.004) and the degree of changes in BCVA (P = 0.043).

Conclusion:

Marked deterioration in visual acuity was noted in patients discontinuing treatment, regardless of neovascular age-related macular degeneration subtypes. The presence of intraretinal fluid was associated with worse visual prognosis, suggesting that patients with intraretinal fluid should be strongly warned about their poor prognosis before they decide to discontinue treatment.

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