Date: 12 May 2012

Recovery of photoreceptor outer segments after anti-VEGF therapy for age-related macular degeneration

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To evaluate whether the status of the external limiting membrane (ELM) or inner segment/outer segment junction (IS/OS) improves after intravitreal injection of ranibizumab for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We also evaluated whether the pre-operative values of these parameters are associated with the visual prognosis.


This was a hospital-based, cross-sectional study. Seventy-six eyes of 76 treatment-naive AMD patients who received three monthly intravitreal injections of ranibizumab followed for more than 6 months with additional as-needed injections were investigated. Spectral domain OCT was used to evaluate the length of ELM, IS/OS, and foveal thickness pre- and post-operatively. Changes of ELM and IS/OS length were evaluated postoperatively. Correlation coefficients between pre-operative parameters and post-operative visual acuity were also analyzed.


Significant changes were noted in mean logMAR (0.66 to 0.53), foveal thickness (231.1 to 151.1 μm), and IS/OS length (514.9 to 832.3 μm) after the treatment. ELM length did not improve significantly (1,312.4 to 1,376.7 μm). Restoration of IS/OS occured where ELM is retained. Although pre-operative ELM length, IS/OS length, and foveal thickness showed correlation with post-operative logMAR (R = –0.51, –0.39, and 0.46, respectively), the most powerful predictive factor for visual prognosis was pre-operative logMAR (R = 0.77, p < 0.001).


IS/OS status improves in response to anti-VEGF therapy but ELM seems to have less plasticity. The status of IS/OS and ELM can be used as prognostic factors but the predictive power is inferior to that of baseline visual acuity.

The authors have no proprietary interest in any aspect of this study.