Study describes protocol segments
The study investigators sought to describe the treatment patterns, disease activity, and visual outcomes during the maintenance phase of the treat-and-extend protocol and to compare the primary outcomes between eyes with short induction times, defined as 3 or fewer injections of anti-VEGF drugs that achieved lesion inactivation, and eyes with long induction times. The maintenance phase was defined as starting from the first visit that the practitioner graded the neovascular lesion as inactive, Dr. Gillies explained.
The study, published in Ophthalmology (2016;123:2393-2400), included 2,096 eyes of 1,698 patients who were managed with a treat-and-extend regimen out of 6,269 eyes in the FRB database. All eyes had been followed for a minimum of 12 months from the first grading of lesion inactivity. Patients were excluded from the study if they had persistently active lesions.
Dr. Gillies reported that about 50% of eyes were treated at intervals of 8 or fewer weeks at the 3-year time point. The median interval when the eyes became stable was about 1 year into the maintenance phase.
Importantly, the visual acuity was maintained during the maintenance period. The mean change from baseline at the start of the maintenance phase was an increase of 4.3 letters.
The mean change in the visual acuity 3 years after the start of the maintenance phase was an overall decrease of 1.5 letters. In the eyes with a short induction time, the visual acuity decreased by 0.5 letters, compared with a decrease of 3.6 letters in the eyes with a long induction time, according to Dr. Gillies.