Purpose: To assess the gap between visual acuity (VA) outcomes with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) therapies in clinical trials and real-world practice, and explore the reasons for this gap.
Methods: The literature was searched from January 1, 2013, to June 30, 2018, for studies reporting VA gains and injection frequencies in clinical trials and real-world practice.
Results: Clinical trials of anti-VEGF agents and their extension studies demonstrated initial VA gains maintained at 4 years and beyond (up to 7 years) with continuous proactive treatment. Visual outcomes correlated with injection frequency. In real-world practice, patients are usually undertreated, accounting for the VA decline over time. Reasons for undertreatment include the burden of injections and monitoring visits imposed on patients/caregivers. However, another primary reason is the general mindset in the ophthalmological community that sustained benefits with treatment are not possible, leading to poor compliance and creating a vicious circle.
Conclusions: Initial VA gains can be maintained with more intensive/proactive approaches. Promising new treatments requiring less frequent injections/monitoring will help in the near future; meanwhile, better results could be achieved by changing the community mindset that contributes to undertreatment.
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