The efficacy of intravitreal antivascular endothelial growth factor as primary treatment of retinopathy of prematurity: Experience from a tertiary hospital

  • H Kana
  • I Mayet
  • D Soma
  • H Dawood Alli
  • S Biddulph


Background. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a vasoproliferative disease affecting premature babies and a major cause of blindness in childhood. Appropriate screening and treatment can prevent blindness.

Objective. To report on the efficacy of using antivascular endothelial growth factor (bevacizumab) as first-line therapy in ROP.

Methods. This was a retrospective analysis of patients with ROP treated at St John Eye Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa, over a 3-year period. Outcome measures were the clinical response to intravitreal bevacizumab (IVB) as well as the economic impact of IVB therapy.

Results. Twenty-three patients were treated for active ROP or type 1 disease, in 44 eyes. Two patients required treatment in one eye only. The mean birth weight of these patients was 1 074 g (range 810 - 1 480). Response to treatment outcome was available for 22 patients (43 eyes). The mean follow-up period was 9 months (range 1 - 18). Forty-one eyes (95.3%) showed complete regression or non-progression of the disease. Two eyes (one eye each in two patients) progressed to advanced disease. There were no short-term adverse events. A cost-effective model showed that IVB treatment was much more economical than laser therapy.

Conclusion. IVB is a safe and effective first-line treatment for ROP and should be considered in resource-limited centres.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135