PURPOSE. To explain the pivotal role optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging had in the development of antiangiogenic therapies for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nvAMD). METHODS. A historical literature review was combined with personal perspectives from the introduction of OCT imaging and the early clinical use of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors. RESULTS. At the time that OCT emerged, the gold standard for imaging of nvAMD was fluorescein angiography (FA), a time-consuming, dye-based, invasive technique that provided en face images of the retina and was used to characterize leakage, perfusion status, and the types of macular neovascularization (MNV). In comparison, OCT imaging was a fast, safe, noninvasive technique that complemented FA imaging by providing cross-sectional images of the macula. OCT was able to visualize and quantify the macular fluid that was associated with the presence of excess VEGF, which was identified by intraretinal fluid, subretinal fluid, and fluid under the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Clinicians quickly appreciated the benefits of OCT imaging for following macular fluid after anti-VEGF therapy. By observing the qualitative and quantitative changes in macular fluid depicted by OCT imaging, clinicians were empowered to compare anti-VEGF drugs and move from fixed-dosing regimens to patient-specific dosing strategies requiring fewer injections. CONCLUSIONS. Optical coherence tomography imaging was adopted as a VEGF-meter, a method to detect excess VEGF, and evolved to become the gold standard imaging strategy for diagnosing nvAMD, assessing treatment responses to anti-VEGF drugs, deciding when to retreat, and evaluating disease progression.
- Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor
- Optical coherence tomography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience