Single-frame photograph taken from the eye surgery video showing unimanual fibrovascular tissue dissection with de Smet forceps on the surface
of the iris.
Optical coherence tomography of the anterior segment showing an open angle after anterior chamber
fibrovascular tissue dissection and injection of antibody to vascular endothelial growth factor.
Good intraocular pressure control was achieved in this patient.
The first step is to inject bevacizumab into the anterior chamber 48 to 72 hours before repair
surgery. Corneal paracentesis is performed, immediately followed by anterior chamber washout. Then,
trypan blue is injected into the anterior chamber under air to stain the fibrovascular tissue. This
is followed by viscosurgery to mechanically separate the fibrotic tissue from the iris stroma. With
alternating unimanual and bimanual techniques, de Smet forceps and scissors are used to extract
fibrovascular tissue from the surface of the iris, the angle, and the pupil area. Finally, the
viscoelastic is removed from the anterior chamber and 0.05 mL of bevacizumab is again injected.
Nadal J, Carreras E, Kudsieh B, Canut M. Neovascular Glaucoma Treatment With Extraction of Anterior Chamber Fibrovascular
Tissue. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013;131(8):1083-1085. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.426
The use of antibody to vascular endothelial growth factor to treat neovascular glaucoma yields
good anatomic results in most cases. However, this type of glaucoma can cause angle closure with
decompensation of intraocular pressure secondary to fibrovascular tissue contraction in the anterior
chamber. Our surgical technique treats the cause by removing the anterior chamber fibrous complex
after administration of antibody to vascular endothelial growth factor, thus restoring the chamber
Quiz Ref IDCompared with other types of glaucoma, neovascular glaucoma (NVG) has
poor visual field prognosis. Its pathogenesis involves retinal ischemia, which induces the formation
of new vessels and fibrous tissue in the root and stroma of the iris; these act mechanically on the
angle, causing its closure and subsequent ocular hypertension.1,2
In the initial stages, intraocular pressure (IOP) is usually normal, so therapeutic measures are
primarily directed at treating the cause of ischemia.3,4 Panretinal ablation and, more recently, administration of antibody
to vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF),5- 9 are the most widely accepted
techniques used to induce neovascular regression.
However, after the angle closure phase, IOP elevation requires immediate treatment (with
corticosteroids or cycloplegic or hypotensive agents). This is followed by treatment of the
pathogenic causes to control the process of neovascularization, and finally by treatment of residual
glaucoma (with filtering surgery, drainage devices, or cyclodestructive procedures).3,4
Etiological treatment is intended to resolve the causes of retinal ischemia that lead to the
formation and progression of neovessels, in combination with anti-VEGF treatment.5- 9 However, various
studies have reported IOP decompensation after the administration of anti-VEGF secondary to angle
closure.10,11 The surgical technique described
here involves removal of fibrovascular tissue at the level of the iris and angle in order to release
the angle and facilitate drainage of aqueous humor, thereby controlling IOP.
The first step is to inject 0.05 mL (1.25 mg) of bevacizumab (Avastin; Genentech/Roche) into the
anterior chamber 48 to 72 hours before surgery, to avascularize the neovessels, thus preventing
massive bleeding during surgery and facilitating the removal of fibrotic tissue covering the chamber
Corneal paracentesis is performed with 0.5-mm incisions at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions,
immediately followed by anterior chamber washout to remove any residual blood from severed vessels.
Air and Trypan blue are then injected into the anterior chamber to stain the fibrovascular tissue.
This is followed by viscosurgery with 10 mg/mL viscoelastic (Biolon; Cryopharma S.A.) to
mechanically separate the fibrotic tissue from the iris stroma. With alternating unimanual and
bimanual techniques, de Smet forceps and scissors are used to extract fibrovascular tissue from the
surface of the iris, the angle, and the pupil area (Figure
1). These maneuvers must be performed with extreme caution because of the risk of damaging or
dislodging the iris root. When part of the fibrotic tissue is freed, it is extracted via the
incisions or with a 23-gauge vitreotome. Finally, the viscoelastic is removed from the anterior
chamber and another 0.05 mL of bevacizumab is injected (see the Video).
We then proceed to treat the posterior pole disorder causing the ischemia with vitrectomy when
This technique was applied in 2 cases of NVG with extensive macroscopic fibrovascular
proliferation that covered the entire surface of the iris and complete chamber angle closure. The
first case (Figure 1 and Video) was secondary to Coats
disease, with an IOP of 46 mm Hg unresponsive to pharmacological control. The second case resulted
from severe proliferative diabetic retinopathy, with IOP of 53 mm Hg. At 1 year after surgery, the
IOPs in these cases were 9 and 11 mm Hg, respectively, without additional hypotensive treatment.
Neither of these patients had intraoperative or postoperative complications, and ciliar body
detachment was ruled out by high-definition ultrasonography as a possible cause of the reduced
Neovascular glaucoma is one of various eye or systemic diseases involving ocular ischemia. This
makes its treatment unpredictable, difficult, and controversial, and the visual prognosis is often
In advanced stages of NVG, IOPs increase after blocked drainage of aqueous humor through the
fibrovascular membrane lining the anterior surface of the trabecular meshwork, the iris, and pupil
surface. At this stage, Quiz Ref IDafter IOP control, treatment is aimed at
eliminating the ischemic stimulus that induces the formation and progression of neovessels.1,2
The use of anti-VEGF has been shown to promote regression of neovessels, visualized with
indocyanine green angiography.2,13 In cases in
which the angle is still open, before synechiae formation and angle closure, Quiz Ref IDIOP control can be achieved with anti-VEGF administration and without the need for
additional surgical procedures.5,6 In cases with angle closure, the IOP response is lower and additional surgery is
At the same time as our observations, there have been case reports describing fibrovascular
tissue contraction after the injection of bevacizumab, inducing angle closure and a consequent
increase in IOP.10,11 In a study of 5 cases of NVG
treated with bevacizumab, our group10 found regression of
neovascularization and IOP control. However, 3 of these cases showed increased IOP 48 hours after
injection, which required cycloablation for control. Quiz Ref IDFibrovascular tissue
contraction after injection of anti-VEGF caused displacement of the iris–zonules–ciliary
body complex, decreasing iridocorneal angle amplitude, as shown by anterior segment optical
coherence tomography, thus inducing IOP decompensation. We have therefore
opted to treat the underlying cause using fibrovascular membrane dissection to facilitate aqueous
humor drainage, because release of the material causing the blockage favors IOP control after
anti-VEGF administration. In patients undergoing this procedure, we have noted good postoperative
IOP results and good angular amplitude, as shown by anterior segment optical coherence tomography
In addition, Quiz Ref IDthe use of anti-VEGF 48 hours before surgery results in
initial nonperfusion of the neovessels rather than elimination of them11,12; this greatly facilitates surgery because it prevents massive
bleeding and it improves postoperative results.5- 9
In conclusion, in selected cases of NVG with IOP decompensation, before anti-VEGF treatment, we
recommend studying the extent of fibrovascular tissue and performing gonioscopy to assess the degree
of synechiae. If fibrovascular tissue is visible, the combination of tissue dissection and anti-VEGF
injection may help decrease postoperative IOP. However, randomized clinical trials would be needed
to assess the efficacy of this approach.
Corresponding Author: Elisa Carreras, MD, Barraquer
Institute, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Muntaner, 314, Barcelona 08029, Spain (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Submitted for Publication: December 5, 2012; final revision received January 31,
2013; accepted February 4, 2013.
Published Online: June 6, 2013.
Author Contributions:Study concept and design: Nadal, Carreras, Kudsieh.
Acquisition of data: Kudsieh.
Analysis and interpretation of data: Canut.
Drafting of the manuscript: Nadal, Carreras, Kudsieh.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Canut.
Administrative, technical, and material support: Nadal, Carreras, Canut.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None