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  • AAO OTAC Retina/Vitreous Panel, Hoskins Center for Quality Eye Care
    A report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology Ophthalmic Technology Assessment Committee Retina/Vitreous Panel. 

    Justis P. Ehlers, MD,1 Steven Yeh, MD,2,3 Maureen G. Maguire, PhD,4 Justine R. Smith, MBBS, PhD,5 Prithvi Mruthyunjaya, MD, MHS,6 Nieraj Jain, MD,3 Leo A. Kim, MD, PhD,7 Christina Y. Weng, MD, MBA,8 Christina J. Flaxel, MD,9 Scott D. Schoenberger, MD,10 Stephen J. Kim, MD11

    Ophthalmology, Vol. 129, 88-89, ©2021 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Click here for free access to the OTA. 

    Purpose: To review the evidence on the safety and efficacy of current anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and intravitreal corticosteroid pharmacotherapies for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME).

    Methods: Literature searches were last conducted on May 13, 2020 in the PubMed database, with no date restrictions and limited to articles published in English. The combined searches yielded 230 citations, of which 108 were reviewed in full text. Of these, 31 were deemed appropriate for inclusion in this assessment and were assigned a level of evidence rating by the panel methodologist.

    Results: Only the 21 articles with level I evidence were included in this assessment. Seventeen articles provided level I evidence for 1 or more anti-VEGF pharmacotherapies, including ranibizumab (14), aflibercept (5), and bevacizumab (2) alone or in combination with other treatments for DME. Level I evidence was identified in 7 articles on intravitreal corticosteroid therapy for treatment of DME: triamcinolone (1), dexamethasone (4), and fluocinolone acetonide (2).

    Conclusions: Review of the available literature indicates that intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF agents and corticosteroids are efficacious treatments for DME. Elevated intraocular pressure and cataract progression are important potential complications of corticosteroid therapy. Further evidence is required to assess the comparative efficacy of these therapies. Given the limited high-quality comparative efficacy data, choice of therapy must be individualized for each patient and broad therapeutic access for patients is critical to maximize outcomes.

    1The Tony and Leona Campane Center for Excellence in Image-Guided Surgery and Advanced Imaging Research, Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
    2Department of Ophthalmology, Truhlsen Eye Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska
    3Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
    4Department of Ophthalmology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    5Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia
    6Byers Eye Institute, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
    7Department of Ophthalmology, Schepens Eye Research Institute/Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
    8Vitreoretinal Diseases & Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Cullen Eye Institute, Houston, Texas
    9Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon
    10CEI Vision Partners, Dayton, Ohio
    11Department of Ophthalmology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee