Purpose: To evaluate the effects of panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) compared with PRP plus intravitreal injection of 0.5 mg of ranibizumab (IVR) in patients with high-risk proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Methods: Prospective study included patients with high-risk PDR and no prior laser treatment randomly assigned to receive PRP (PRP group) or PRP plus IVR (PRPplus group). PRP was administered in two sessions (weeks 0 and 2), and IVR was administered at the end of the first laser session in the PRPplus group. Standardized ophthalmic evaluations including best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) measured according to the methods used in the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (BCVA), fluorescein angiography to measure area of fluorescein leakage (FLA) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) for the assessment of central subfield macular thickness (CSMT), were performed at baseline and at weeks 16 (±2), 32 (±2) and 48 (±2). Results: Twenty-nine of 40 patients (n = 29 eyes) completed the 48-week study follow-up period. At baseline, mean ± SE FLA (mm 2) was 9.0 ± 1.3 and 11.7 ± 1.3 (p = 0.1502); BCVA (logMAR) was 0.31 ± 0.05 and 0.27 ± 0.06 (p = 0.6645); and CSMT (μm) was 216.3 ± 10.7 and 249.4 ± 36.1 (p = 0.3925), in the PRP and PRPplus groups, respectively. There was a significant (p < 0.05) FLA reduction at all study visits in both groups, with the reduction observed in the PRPplus group significantly larger than that in the PRP group at week 48 (PRP = 2.9 ± 1.3 mm 2; PRPplus = 5.8 ± 1.3 mm 2; p = 0.0291). Best-corrected visual acuity worsening was observed at 16, 32 and 48 weeks after treatment in the PRP group (p < 0.05), while no significant BCVA changes were observed in the PRPplus group. A significant CSMT increase was observed in the PRP group at all study visits, while a significant decrease in CSMT was observed in the PRPplus group at week 16, and no significant difference in CSMT from baseline was observed at weeks 32 and 48. Conclusions: Intravitreal ranibizumab after PRP was associated with a larger reduction in FLA at week 48 compared with PRP alone in eyes with high-risk PDR, and the adjunctive use of IVR appears to protect against the modest visual acuity loss and macular swelling observed in eyes treated with PRP alone.
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