Received: 26 August 2021; Published on-line: 23 October 2021

Morphological and ophthalmoscopic features of epiretinal membranes after intravitreal injection of various doses of aflibercept in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy 

Vira S Ponomarchuk, V. V. Vit, M. M. Umanets

SI "The Filatov Institute of Eye Diseases and Tissue Therapy of the NAMS of Ukraine"; Odesa (Ukraine)

E-mail:  v.zavodnaya@gmail.com

TO CITE THIS ARTICLE: Ponomarchuk Vira S, Vit VV, Umanets MM. Morphological and ophthalmoscopic features of epiretinal membranes after intravitreal injection of various doses of aflibercept in patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. J.ophthalmol.(Ukraine).2021;5:3-9.  http://doi.org/10.31288/oftalmolzh2021539


Background: Although methods are available to treat proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), 30% of cases progress, which is an indication for vitrectomy.

Purpose: To investigate the ophthalmoscopic and morphological features of epiretinal membranes (ERMs) in patients with PDR depending on the dose of preoperative intravitreal aflibercept (PIA).

Material and Methods: Seventy-five patients (75 eyes) with PDR and the presence of fibrovascular ERM with a marked proliferative component were involved in the study. Patients were divided into three groups: eyes of group 1 or control group (31 eyes) received vitrectomy without PIA; group 2 (17 eyes), PIA 1.0 mg; and group 3 (27 eyes), PIA 2.0 mg. We performed a histological study on specimens of fibrovascular ERMs surgically obtained from patients to determine the microscopic features of these membranes.  

Results: There was ophthalmoscopic and microscopic evidence that aflibercept pretreatment in vitrectomy for PDR resulted in fibrosis of the ERM. The extent of fibrosis of the ERM and obliteration of newly formed blood vessels in the ERM depended on the dose of PIA. Complete obliteration of newly formed blood vessels in the ERM was observed as early as day 3 after 2.0-mg intravitreal aflibercept injection compared to day 5 after 1.0-mg intravitreal aflibercept injection. Pretreatment with 1.0-mg intravitreal aflibercept in vitrectomy for PDR reduced the probability of complications associated with ERM contraction, worsening of the tractional component and the development of a retinal break.

Keywords: vascular endothelial growth factor, epiretinal membranes, proliferative diabetic retinopathy



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Author Contributions: 

Vira S. Ponomarchuk: conducting intravitreal injections, data collection and analysis,  writing the text; V.V. Vit: histological studies, editing; M.M.Umanets: concept and design of the study, surgical interventions, and editing. 


The authors express their gratitude to O.I.Dragomiretska for assistance in statistical data processing.


The authors declare no conflict of interest. 

There are no external sources of funding.