The Importance of Imaging to Identify Early Signs of Intraocular Inflammation Expert Opinion for Brolucizumab.
INTRODUCTION: The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of unplanned treatment gap, secondary to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, on visual acuity in previously treated diabetic macular edema (DME) patients.
METHODS: A multicenter, retrospective study of DME patients, previously treated with anti-VEGF injections, who were followed up during COVID-19 pandemic (2020) compared to pre-COVID-19 period (2019).
RESULTS: A total of 634 DME patients with a mean age of 68.4 years met the inclusion criteria, 385 were assessed in 2019 (pre-COVID-19) and 239 patients assessed in 2020 (COVID-19). Baseline best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) among patients in 2019 and 2020 was 0.52 ± 0.44, 0.45 ± 0.43 (logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution, respectively). There was no significant difference between the years 2020 and 2019 in baseline BCVA (p = 0.07). Mean number of anti-VEGF injections was significantly lower (5 vs. 6, p < 0.01), with a major lower ratio of injections per patient in the COVID-19 first lockdown period (March–June 2020) in the COVID-19 group. Baseline BCVA (p < 0.01) was the only significant predictor of final BCVA. Number of injections, age, gender, and the year were not found as predictors of final BCVA.
CONCLUSIONS: In a large cohort of DME patients, an unplanned delay in treatment with anti-VEGF injections for 2–3 months, due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, had no significance impact on visual acuity. For most patients, returning to routine treatment regimen was sufficient for maintaining BCVA.