Avastin use in high risk corneal transplantation

  • Petja Ivanova Vassileva
  • Tatyana Georgieva Hergeldzhieva



Corneal neovascularization is a major risk factor for graft failure after corneal transplantation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of subconjunctival, perilimbal, and/or intrastromal bevacizumab (Avastin®) on corneal neovascularization in patients with penetrating keratoplasty (PKP).


Fourteen eyes of 14 patients with high risk corneal transplantation and corneal neovascularization after PKP (nine men and five women with a mean age of 63 years) were included in this non-comparative interventional case series. Indications for PKP were: vascularized leucomas after herpetic keratitis and chemical burn, advanced pseudophakic bullous keratopathy with superficial and deep corneal vascularization, keratoconus, severe infection in hereditary corneal dystrophy, and failed corneal grafts. Subconjunctival, perilimbal, and/or intrastromal bevacizumab of dose of 2.5 mg/ 0.1 ml/ per affected quadrant was injected at the site of neovascularization in each patient at the end of surgery and/or at follow up visits. One or two injections were applied. At each visit a full eye examination with photo documentation was performed. Follow-up period was 2 to 8 months (mean 7.1 months).


Decrease of corneal neovascularization was observed in eleven patients (78.6%). Regression of neovascularization with fading of small vessels was demonstrated. Despite high- risk patient pool, twelve grafts (85.7%) remained transparent for the period of observation, and patients maintained good visual acuity. In two patients with initial graft rejection and vascularization, subconjunctival and perilimbal application of bevacizumab was beneficial in overcoming the corneal inflammation and initial rejection. No adverse reactions have been detected to date in patients with subconjunctival, perilimbal, and/or intrastromal injection of bevacizumab.


Bevacizumab is an efficient and safe additional treatment option for improvement of prognosis in high-risk corneal transplantation with pre- and postoperative corneal neovascularization.


Corneal transplantation Penetrating keratoplasty Corneal neovascularization Subconjunctival Avastin 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petja Ivanova Vassileva
    • 1
  • Tatyana Georgieva Hergeldzhieva
    • 1
  1. 1.University Eye Hospital “Prof. Pashev”SofiaBulgaria

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