As a progressive chronic disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision impairment worldwide. Experimental and clinical evidence has demonstrated that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a vital role in the formation of choroidal neovascularization. Intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF agents have been recommended as a first-line treatment for neovascular AMD.
However, persistent fluid or recurrent exudation still occurs despite standardized anti-VEGF therapy. Patients suffering from refractory or recurrent neovascular AMD may develop mechanisms of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy, which results in a diminished therapeutic effect. Until now, there has been no consensus on the definitions of refractory neovascular AMD and recurrent neovascular AMD. This article aims at clarifying these concepts to evaluate the efficacy of switching drugs, which contributes to making clinical decision more scientifically. Furthermore, insight into the causes of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy would be helpful for developing possible therapeutic approaches, such as combination therapy and multi-target treatment that can overcome this resistance.
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