PROGRESSION OF MACULAR ATROPHY IN PATIENTS WITH NEOVASCULAR AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION UNDERGOING ANTIVASCULAR ENDOTHELIAL GROWTH FACTOR THERAPY

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Abstract

Purpose:

To define the frequency and quantify the progression of macular atrophy (MA) in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration undergoing treatment with antivascular endothelial growth factor therapy for >2 years.

Methods:

Fifty-four eyes of 46 patients (86.7 ± 6.8 years, 53.7% women) diagnosed with wet age-related macular degeneration were included in this retrospective study. Eyes that received photodynamic therapy or laser treatment were excluded. All eyes were imaged at baseline and after 2 years with the Cirrus spectral domain optical coherence tomography using a 512 × 128 macular cube scan protocol centered on the fovea. Optical coherence tomography en face fundus images were obtained for each 3-dimensional data set using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration–cleared Advanced RPE Analysis software, which automatically identifies atrophic areas by segmenting regions of increased reflectivity in en face choroidal slab images. Segmentation errors were manually corrected by trained Doheny Image Reading Center graders using a standardized grading protocol. The prevalence rates of atrophy at baseline and at 2-years follow-up and enlargement rates were computed. Baseline demographic factors and types and numbers of antivascular endothelial growth factor injections received over time were correlated with the development and enlargement of atrophy.

Results:

Macular atrophy was noted at baseline in 32 (59.3%) eyes and progressed in all eyes over the next 2 years. Among the 28 eyes without atrophy at baseline, MA developed by 2 years in 6 eyes (21.4% of eyes without MA at baseline). Of note, 22 eyes (40.7% of overall cohort) never developed atrophy during the course of the study. Among eyes with atrophy at baseline, the annual growth rate of MA was found to be 0.89 ± 0.93 mm2. A multiple regression analysis was performed to evaluate the influence of gender, age, smoking status, medication injected, and number of injections on MA. Except for the number of total injections (R2 = 0.3, P < 0.01), the studied variables could not significantly predict development or progression of MA (F [0.73, 13] = 0.378, P = 0.86, R2 = 0.05). However, the study was not powered to detect small effects.

Conclusion:

Macular atrophy is a frequent finding in eyes with wet age-related macular degeneration both before and after antivascular endothelial growth factor therapy. The frequency of new optical coherence tomography–defined atrophy (21% at 2 years) after starting therapy was close to the rates reported in CATT, IVAN, and HARBOR. The rate of MA enlargement was positively correlated with the number of injections, but did not appear to be greater than that reported for atrophy in the absence of choroidal neovascularization.

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