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Morgan Fallor, Rukhsana Mirza, Alice T Lyon, Anupam Jayaram, Manjot Gill; Patient Perspectives of Anti-VEGF Intravitreal Injections. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):172.
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To gain insight into patients’ perspectives of intravitreal injection treatments in regards to their understanding of their disease, views on their clinical course, and overall experience with management.
An IRB-approved prospective 28 question survey was created by 3 retina specialists (RM, MG, AL) and administered to patients undergoing intravitreal injection therapy at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation outpatient retina clinic between June and July 2013. All patients were consented by the same investigator (MF) and completed the survey on their own or with assistance of the investigator. The survey questions were designed to qualitatively assess: patients’ understanding of their diagnosis, factors considered when choosing their treatment, anxiety level regarding treatment, treatment experience, and overall outcomes. In addition, a chart review was performed on each patient to obtain demographic data (age, gender, and insurance status) as well as clinical information including diagnosis, duration of diagnosis, vision at presentation, vision at time of survey, drug used for injection, number of injections received, and frequency of injections.
There were a total of 107 patients surveyed (65 women and 43 men, age 30-96 years). The most common indication for injections in this study was exudative age related macular degeneration. There was objective improvement (increase in 1 line) in best corrected vision in 67% of all patients. Patients’ perceptions of whether their treatment improved their vision were as follows: 48% noted improvement, 32% did not, and 15% were unsure. Of those who experienced anxiety prior to their first injection, 68% have less anxiety since being treated. In regard to deciding which treatment to choose, 77% of patients rely more on their doctor’s choice, than FDA approval, clinical trials, cost, and interval between injections. Finally, 73% patients surveyed reported that they would be willing to undergo intravitreal injections indefinitely, stating that they understood that receiving injections was better than the alternative.
Despite preconceived notions about intravitreal injections, almost half (48%) of patients subjectively felt that the treatment is improving their vision, and the majority of patients (67%) objectively demonstrated this improvement of acuity. Additionally, most patients surveyed reported their willingness to continue on with intravitreal injections.
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