The PONS study was conceived to analyze the extent of nonpersistence (NP) and nonadherence (NA) in the treatment of patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration in everyday clinical practice in Germany. Further objectives were to identify factors that can affect NP and NA and to analyze clinical outcomes under everyday conditions.Methods:
Nonpersistence (no contact with doctor for at least 3 months) and NA (no treatment or follow-up for at least 6 weeks) as well as clinical data were analyzed up to 24 months retrospectively and 12 months prospectively in 480 patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration in 23 treatment centers. Patients were interviewed for factors possibly affecting NP and NA.Results:
One third of patients fulfilled criteria of NA in the first 3 months and two thirds after 6 months. The NP was 18.8% after 12 months. Treatment exclusively at one center, a higher number of patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration at the treating center, and fixed appointments were associated with a lower risk for NP. An initial gain in visual acuity after upload was not preserved after 12 months (mean change −0.5 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study letters). Whereas visual acuity declined by 7.5 Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study letters in patients with good baseline visual acuity >20/40, visual acuity improved by 8.5 letters in patients with baseline visual acuity of ≤20/200. Only 7.5% of patients underwent an optical coherence tomography scan after 3 upload injections, and only 2.0 optical coherence tomographies were performed in the first 12 months.Conclusion:
The NP and NA were high in our study population and are likely to have contributed to a suboptimal clinical outcome compared with randomized clinical trials. Shortcomings in the management of patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration, including restrictions in the timely and adequate follow-up (including optical coherence tomography) and retreatment, appear to be constraining factors in Germany.