Subthreshold Diode Micropulse Laser Combined with Intravitreal Therapy for Macular Edema—A Systematized Review and Critical Approach

Maciej Gawęcki
2021 Journal of Clinical Medicine  
Objective: intravitreal therapy for macular edema (ME) is a common clinical approach to treating most retinal vascular diseases; however, it generates high costs and requires multiple follow-up visits. Combining intravitreal anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or steroid therapy with subthreshold diode micropulse laser (SDM) application could potentially reduce the burden of numerous intravitreal injections. This review sought to explore whether this combination treatment is
more » ... eatment is effective in the course of ME secondary to retinal vascular disease, and in particular, determine whether it is comparable or superior to intravitreal therapy alone. Materials and methods: the following terms and Boolean operators were used to search the PubMed literature database: subthreshold micropulse laser, subthreshold diode micropulse OR micropulse laser treatment AND anti-VEGF, anti-VEGF treatment, intravitreal steroids, OR combined therapy.This analysis included all studies discussing the combination of SDM and intravitreal anti-VEGF or steroid treatment. Results: the search revealed nine studies that met the inclusion criteria, including five comparing combined treatment and anti-VEGF treatment alone, four covering diabetic ME, and one covering ME secondary to branch retinal vein occlusion. All of these five studies suggested that combination therapy results in fewer intravitreal injections than anti-VEGF monotherapy with non-inferior functional and morphological outcomes. The remaining four studies report functional and morphological improvements after combined treatment; however, SDM alone was never superior to intravitreal-alone or combined treatment. There were substantial differences in treatment protocols and inclusion criteria between the studies. Conclusions: the available material was too scarce to provide a reliable assessment of the effects of combined therapy and its relation to intravitreal monotherapy in the treatment of ME secondary to retinal vascular disease. One assumption of note is that it is possible that SDM plus anti-VEGF might require fewer intravitreal injections than anti-VEGF monotherapy with equally good functional and morphological results. However, further randomized research is required to confirm this thesis.
doi:10.3390/jcm10071394 pmid:33807216 fatcat:vqjlydqvq5guzkod2lkptdxxda