Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Anti-VEGF Treatment of Medical Retinal Conditions

How to Cite

Rahimzadeh, M., Muniraju, R., & Izadi, S. (2020). Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Anti-VEGF Treatment of Medical Retinal Conditions. The Physician, 6(3), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.38192/


Introduction: Ophthalmology services have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Frequency of intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (Anti-VEGF) injections are important in visual outcomes.

Methods: We conducted an audit on intravitreal services in an NHS district general hospital in the UK including all new patients with diabetic macular oedema (CI-DMO) and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who were initiated on intravitreal injection of Aflibercept (EYLEA) between 1st January to 15th July 2020, and had subsequent injections until October 2020. Data on injection dates and visual acuity was extracted, and the total number of all intravitreal injections for all indications between January to September 2020 and the same period in 2019. Delay to treatment was defined as more than 14 days, according to the fixed dosing schedule.

Results: We found 31% (n=17) of patients initiated on treatment for wet AMD and 44% (N=11) for CI-DMO had delayed injections.  There was no correlation between total duration of delay and change in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA). Similarly, we found no association between duration of delay and change in BCVA. The number of intravitreal injections declined during the COVID-19 pandemic by 17.8% compared to 2019.

Conclusion: Majority of patients initiated on anti-VEGF injections just before the pandemic or during the pandemic received injections on time. Where there were significant delays to treatment, there was no detected loss in vision over the short term. However, the long-term impact and impact of overall reduction in intravitreal injections are unknown.



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