It’s been a 16 years since the initial intravitreal anti-VEGF injection was approved to treat AMD in the United States. In that time, several new formulations have hit the market and seen improvements. Now, research is showing how those who get the injections and maintain regular follow up are seeing long-term benefits.

A Minnesota-based study shows that patients who maintain consistent, long-term follow-up have better visual outcomes than those who are spottier on their follow-up adherence. The research shows patients who appeared at annual visits received significantly more injections than those who did not. Eyes with 20/40 or better vision at the study’s conclusion received more injections per year than eyes with worse than 20/40 vision.

The research focused on 533 eyes of 429 patients. For 142 of those eyes, inconsistent office visits led to fewer injections per year and a worse visual acuity than those who appeared regularly, after seven years. The 391 eyes that appeared consistently received a mean of 5.8±2.5 intravitreal injections per year. The baseline logMAR visual acuity for both groups was 0.6±0.5 with a Snellen acuity of 20/80. Of the 533 total eyes, 124 eyes (23%) maintained better than 20/40 visual acuity at seven years and all of them received a mean of 6.5 injections overall per year.

King F, Starr M, Bui Y, et al. Long term follow-up of patients with exudative age-related macular degeneration treated with intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections. Ophthalmol Retina. May 18, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].