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Original article

Effect of Intravitreal Aflibercept on Corneal Endothelial Cells

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Aim: To determine the effect of repeated intravitreal injections of aflibercept on the corneal endothelium in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) and macular edema due to retinal vein occlusion (RVO).

Methods: In a prospective study conducted between January 2021 and November 2023, a total of 87 treatment-naive eyes with DME and RVO were evaluated. The exclusion criteria were surgery or laser intervention during the follow-up period, contact lens wear, cataract surgery in the last 6 months, dystrophy, or other corneal condition that may cause endothelial damage. In addition to routine examinations on the day of application, we also measured the corneal endothelium using specular microscopy on the 1st, 4th and 8th day of injection. We evaluated 4 parameters: endothelial cell density (CD), hexagonality (HEX), coefficient of variability (CV) and central corneal thickness (CCT). First of all, we evaluated the entire cohort of eyes, and then divided it according to 2 criteria; the diagnosis into DME/RVO and according to the lens status into phakic/pseudophakic eyes.

Results: A total of 87 eyes of 68 patients were evaluated. The average age of the patients at the time of diagnosis was 66.8 ±9.3 years. Within the cohort 51 (59%) eyes were phakic and 36 (41%) pseudophakic. A total of 61 (70%) eyes with a diagnosis of DME were treated, and 26 (30%) with RVO. During the follow-up, there were no significant changes in the average values of CD, HEX, CV, CCT due to aflibercept treatment, either in the whole group or in subgroups according to diagnosis or lens condition.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that intravitreal administration of aflibercept in patients with DME and RVO did not have an impact on corneal endothelial parameters, including CCT, HEX, CD and CV. These parameters were measured using endothelial microscopy during an 8-injection observation period.