HAMBURG — Anti-VEGF injection might be a valid alternative to laser photocoagulation in retinopathy of prematurity, leading to significantly lower refractive error, according to studies presented at the Euretina meeting.
“We started using bevacizumab 3 to 4 years ago, in a lower, 0.4mg dose compared to other studies,” Jost Jonas, MD, said.
Following a first study on 23 eyes of 12 infants, where complete regression of the retinal neovascularization was observed within 2 to 3 weeks, another study with a follow-up of 1 year was performed to measure the development of refractive error in the group of bevacizumab-treated infants compared with a group of 26 eyes of 13 children treated with laser photocoagulation. Gestational age was 25 weeks in both groups, birth weight was 622 g and 617 g respectively.
Myopia at the end of the follow-up was found to be much lower in the bevacizumab group with a mean of -1D compared to the -4.4D of the laser group. Astigmatism was 1D vs. 1.82D.
“The presence of moderate and high myopia was significantly lower in the bevacizumab group,” Jonas said.
A similar study with extended follow-up to two years had comparable results.
The better effect on refraction adds up to other advantages of anti-VEGF over laser treatment. However, Jonas said, “no information on the long-term effects on growth or on any other potential systemic side effect is available at present.”
Disclosure: Jonas has no relevant financial disclosures.