Complications of subspecialty ophthalmic care: Systemic complications from the intravitreal administration of agents that target the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway

David J. Ramsey, Luis J. Haddock, Lucy H. Young, Dean Eliott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Scopus citations


The treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other pathologic ocular conditions that overexpress the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been revolutionized in the last decade by the introduction of intravitreal agents that target the VEGF pathway. Since treatment trials are designed primarily to assess the prevention of vision loss caused by ocular conditions, they are inadequate for detecting rare, but potentially serious, systemic side effects. The aim of this article is to present what the ophthalmologist needs to know about systemic complications from anti-VEGF therapy and review the likelihood that these side effects occur in the context of small, but often-repeated, intravitreal doses of these potent biological medications. Preferred practice patterns need to be developed that weigh the ability of these medications to mitigate potentially blinding conditions, while at the same time minimizing the risk of adverse outcomes in specific patient populations that possess multiple and often interrelated medical comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-275
Number of pages13
JournalSeminars in Ophthalmology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • Angiogenesis
  • Choroidal neovascularization
  • Intravitreal injection
  • Systemic side effects
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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