Article Text

Download PDFPDF

OP-02 Intravitreal anti vascular endothelial growth factor injections in pregnancy: a case series and systematic review of the literature
  1. Ariel Yuhan Ong1,2,
  2. Christine Kiire1,
  3. Charlotte Frise3,
  4. Yasmin Bakr1,2,
  5. Samantha R de Silva1,4
  1. 1Oxford Eye Hospital, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Aylesbury, UK
  3. 3Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  4. 4Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK


Introduction Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents may occasionally need to be considered for sight-threatening macular pathology in pregnant women. This is controversial due to the dearth of data on systemic side effects for mother and child.

Aims To explore the visual and safety (obstetric and neonatal) outcomes of anti-VEGF in pregnant women.

Methods Retrospective case series of pregnant women treated with intravitreal anti-VEGF injections at Oxford Eye Hospital between January 2015 and December 2022. We also conducted a systematic review and combined eligible cases in a narrative synthesis.

Results We treated six pregnant women with anti-VEGF for diabetic macular oedema (DMO) (n=5) or choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) (n=1). Four received ranibizumab whilst two (not known to be pregnant) received aflibercept. Patients known to be pregnant underwent counselling by an obstetric physician. Five pregnancies resulted in live births.

Combining our cases with those previously published, treatment of 41 pregnant women (42 pregnancies) has been reported. Indications for treatment included CNV (n=28/41, 68%), DMO (n=7/41, 17%) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (n=6/41, 15%). Bevacizumab (n=22/41, 54%) and ranibizumab (n=17/41, 41%) were given more frequently than aflibercept (n=2/41, 5%). Many (n=16/41, 40%) were unaware of their pregnancy when treated. Most pregnancies resulted in live births (n=34/42, 81%). First trimester miscarriages (n=5/42, 12%) and stillbirths (n=3/42, 7%) predominantly occurred in women with significant risk factors.

Conclusion Intravitreal anti-VEGF injections may not necessarily compromise obstetric outcomes, although clear associations cannot be drawn due to small numbers and confounders from high rates of first trimester miscarriages and inherently high-risk pregnancies. It may be worth considering routinely investigating pregnancy status in women of childbearing age prior to each injection, as part of anti-VEGF treatment protocols.

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.