Endophthalmitis following intravitreal injection of anti-VEGF agents: long-term outcomes and the identification of unusual micro-organisms

Mira M. Sachdeva, Ala Moshiri, Henry A. Leder, Adrienne W. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While the development of targeted molecular therapy to inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has revolutionized the treatment and visual prognosis of highly prevalent retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, each intravitreal injection of these agents carries a small risk of endophthalmitis which can be visually devastating. In the absence of specific guidelines, current management of post-injection endophthalmitis is typically extrapolated from data regarding endophthalmitis occurring after cataract surgery despite potential differences in pathogenic organisms and clinical course. Here, we assess the contribution of intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF agents to all cases of endophthalmitis at our tertiary care referral center and characterize the clinical outcomes and microbial pathogens associated with post-injection endophthalmitis in order to inform management of this serious iatrogenic condition. Results: During the 7-year study period analyzed, 199 cases of endophthalmitis were identified using billing records. Of these, the most common etiology was post-surgical, accounting for 62 cases (31.2 %), with bleb-associated, endogenous, and corneal ulcer-related infections representing the next most frequent causes, comprising 15.6 % (31/199), 13.1 % (26/199), and 13.6 % (27/199) of all cases, respectively. Intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF agents represented 8.5 % of endophthalmitis (17/199 cases). Intraocular cultures yielded positive results in 75 % of post-injection cases, with the majority associated with coagulase-negative Staphylococcus. Consistent with prior literature, a case of Strep viridans displayed more rapid onset and progression. We also report the first association of Enterobacter cloacae and Lactococcus garvieae with post-injection endophthalmitis. While all but one patient were treated with initial vitreous tap and intravitreal injection of antibiotics, both patients with these rare organisms exhibited persistent vitritis requiring subsequent vitrectomy. Long-term outcomes of post-injection endophthalmitis indicated visual recovery to baseline levels, even with resumption of anti-VEGF agents following resolution of the acute infection. Conclusions: Acute endophthalmitis following intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF agents is an uncommon but potentially devastating complication which may be managed effectively with vitreous tap and injection of intravitreal antibiotics. However, persistent vitritis requiring subsequent vitrectomy should raise suspicion for unusual pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ophthalmic Inflammation and Infection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Endophthalmitis
  • Intravitreal injection
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Infectious Diseases


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