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Evaluation of contrast sensitivity and other visual function outcomes in diabetic macular edema patients following treatment switch to aflibercept from ranibizumab

Authors Nixon DR, Flinn NAP

Received 28 November 2017

Accepted for publication 27 December 2017

Published 22 January 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 191—197

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S158268

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Donald R Nixon, Nicholas AP Flinn

Trimed Eye Center, Barrie, ON, Canada

Purpose: This study aims to investigate changes in contrast sensitivity (CS), visual acuity (VA), central retinal thickness (CRT), and vision-related quality of life in subjects with recalcitrant diabetic macular edema switched from long-term ranibizumab treatment to aflibercept.
Patients and methods: In this prospective, investigator-masked, single-center study, 40 patients with persistent fluid, despite previous ranibizumab treatment, were switched to aflibercept with 5 consecutive monthly doses. The primary outcome was mean change from baseline to week 20 in Pelli–Robson CS. Secondary outcomes were mean change from baseline in best-corrected VA (BCVA), CRT, and National Eye Institute 25-Item Visual Function Questionnaire score.
Results: Fifty eyes (baseline VA >6/30) were evaluated. A median of 21.1±11.9 (range 5–55) ranibizumab injections were administered prior to initiation of aflibercept. Mean CS improved from 1.40±0.14 log units at baseline to 1.46±0.15 log units at week 20 (P<0.001). VA improved with mean logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution BCVA of 0.33±0.19 at baseline compared with logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution BCVA of 0.28±0.16 at week 20 (P=0.0016). Mean CRT decreased from 324±85 to 289±61 µm (P<0.001). Twenty-two (55%) patients experienced an overall improvement in National Eye Institute 25-Item Visual Function Questionnaire score. Interestingly, an association was found between changes in CS and change in CRT (r2=0.385, P<0.001) and between changes in BCVA and change in CRT (r2=0.092, P=0.032).
Conclusion: Switching from ranibizumab to aflibercept in patients with recalcitrant diabetic macular edema resulted in an improvement in all measured metrics, including CS, VA, and CRT. A majority of patients also indicated an improvement in vision-related quality of life. The finding of a stronger relationship between changes in CRT and CS compared with changes in CRT and BCVA suggests that the inclusion of CS as an endpoint may yield a more complete understanding of visual outcomes than that obtained by using VA alone.

Keywords: aflibercept, ranibizumab, diabetic macular edema, contrast sensitivity, visual acuity, anti-VEGF

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