Intravitreal Aflibercept Improves Retinal Function in Diabetic Macular Edema

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a common complication observed in patients with diabetes and can lead to blindness. A significant complication of DR is diabetic macular edema (DME). A study evaluated the effectiveness of intravitreal aflibercept on retinal function and improvement in macular edema associated with DR.

For the study, 25 eyes of 25 patients with DME underwent three consecutive monthly intravitreal aflibercept injections. Microperimetry was used to establish retinal sensitivities within the central 10°, and optical coherence tomography was used to establish the central subfield macular thickness. Fundus photographs were used to count microaneurysms. Patients were assessed before they received the injections and one week following the injections.

From pre- to post-injection, the retinal sensitivities improved from 19.9 ± 5.9 dB to 22.0 ± 5.8 dB; decreases from pre- to post-injection were observed in the central subfield macular thickness (485.7 ± 90.6 µm to 376.9 ± 81.6 µm) and the number of microaneurysms (49.6 ± 33.2 to 24.8 ± 18.1; P<0.01 for all). Changes were observed in the implicit times (31.3 ± 3.3 ms to 31.5 ± 3.1 ms) and amplitudes (12.2 ± 5.5 µV to 11.3 ± 6.1 µV), but they were not considered significant. The researchers observed a significant association between the relative changes in the central subfield macular thickness and retinal sensitivities (P=0.02) and the microaneurysms and retinal sensitivities (P=0.03), but no significant correlation between the relative changes of the number of microaneurysms/central subfield macular thickness and implicit times/amplitudes were identified.

“This is a new aspect of aflibercept in that it can improve both the anatomic conformation and central retinal function,” the researchers concluded.