Explanations for anti-VEGF therapy delays during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Spain


Denver, Colo.—COVID-19 delivered a blow to the entire world. It will take years to study and fully understand its global impact. During pandemic lockdown, treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) was delayed impacting patients’ visual outcomes. Such impact has been studied internationally but, there is little data on why the delivery of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) therapy was delayed or even stopped. A new study designed by researchers from Spain was presented this week at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s (ARVO) Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo. where they directed their research towards exploring the visual outcomes from treatment delay and the reasons for the delay.

Lead researcher Javier Zarranz-Ventura, MD, MSc, PhD, FEBO, from the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona and the team conducted a “retrospective, national, multicentre, observational study” specifically on nAMD patients that underwent anti-VEGF therapy and registered in the Fight Retinal Blindness (FRB) platform in Spain before lockdown. The patients were split into two cohorts: delayed treatment patients (DTP) and timely treated patients (TTP). They evaluated the mean change in best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) from the patient’s last follow-up visit (FUV) before lockdown (BLD) to the first FUV after lockdown. Patients also received a questionnaire regarding the causes for their delayed treatments.

The team were able to evaluate 245 eyes; of that number, 39.6% were TTP and 60.4% were DTP. They found that in comparison to the DTP cohort, the TTP cohort displayed a greater baseline and final BCVA. BCVA loss was much greater for the DTP cohort compared to the TTP cohort. For the DTP cohort, visit delay was a primary reason and was due to the patient’s decision (48.2%), followed by hospitals having limited clinic capacity (42.7%). The patient's decision to not maintain scheduled visits was primarily due to their fear of possible COVID-19 infection (49.4%). Zarranz-Ventura hoped that this information will be used “to inform clinicians to take actions to mitigate such impact in future pandemic scenarios.”

  • Abstract title: Real impact and reasons for anti-VEGF treatment delay during Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in neovascular age-related macular degeneration: A national study
  • Presentation start/end time: Sunday, May 1, 12:15 – 2:15pm MT
  • Location: Poster Hall (Denver Convention Center)
  • Recording available on ARVO Virtual meeting site at beginning May 1
  • Abstract number: F0172


The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include approximately 10,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders. Learn more at

The 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting will take place in Denver, Colo. from May 1 – 4 and virtually May 11 - 12. The Meeting is the premiere gathering of nearly 10,000 eye and vision researchers from around the world. During the Meeting, 4,800 abstracts will be presented on the latest basic and translational research in eye and vision science.

All abstracts accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting represent previously unpublished data and conclusions. This research may be proprietary or may have been submitted for journal publication. Embargo policy: Journalists must seek approval from the presenter(s) before reporting data from paper or poster presentations. Press releases or stories on information presented at the ARVO Annual Meeting may not be released or published until the following embargo dates:

  • May 1: Official launch of presentations of all posters (both presented in-person and virtually)
  • Rolling basis: Paper session, Symposia, Minisymposia, Cross-sectional Groups, and invited speaker sessions that have specific presentation times will be embargoed until the end of those individual time slots.


Media contact:
Jenniffer Scherhaufer