October 7, 2020 11:22:05 pm
Many patients don’t follow up on treatment after taking AntiVEGF (vascular endolthelial growth factor) injections due to unaffordable rates and perceived lack of improvement in vision, according to a new study in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
“This is surprising given that all of us physicians believe injections improve vision. But it appears that our patients don’t feel the same way. Clearly, we need to do more and give them a realistic picture of what to expect,” Dr Aditya Kelkar, director of National Institute of Ophthalmology and lead author of the study, told The Indian Express.
Disorders of the blood vessels in the retina are responsible for some of the most common causes of blindness in the world, Kelkar said. In their study from 2013-2017, at least 1,200 patients were assessed for retinal vein occlusion, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema to find out the factors that affect compliance to AntiVEGF injection therapy.
“At least 648 patients were eligible for the study of which 51 per cent (334) were lost to follow up. The most common reason was non-affordability of the injection followed by no improvement in vision,” Kelkar said.
Patients need six to eight injections over the course of the therapy. There are three to four varieties and the cost ranges between Rs 10,000 and Rs 45,000 per injection. After the first two or three injections, there is an improvement in vision and the remaining injections need to be taken to stabilise it. So, many patients lose out when they do not attend follow up sessions, Kelkar said.
“At our hospital, we give 1,000 injections a year and there is a dropout rate of 55 per cent. The Covid-19 pandemic has further added to the problem as it has become challenging for patients to report,” Kelkar said.
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