Long-term Follow-up of Patients With Retinitis Pigmentosa Receiving Intraocular Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor Implants

David G. Birch, Lea D. Bennett, Jacque L. Duncan, Richard G. Weleber, Mark E. Pennesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Purpose To evaluate the long-term efficacy of ciliary neurotrophic factor delivered via an intraocular encapsulated cell implant for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa. Design Long-term follow-up of a multicenter, sham-controlled study. Methods Thirty-six patients at 3 CNTF4 sites were randomly assigned to receive a high- or low-dose implant in 1 eye and sham surgery in the fellow eye. The primary endpoint (change in visual field sensitivity at 12 months) had been reported previously. Here we measure long-term visual acuity, visual field, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) outcomes in 24 patients either retaining or explanting the device at 24 months relative to sham-treated eyes. Results Eyes retaining the implant showed significantly greater visual field loss from baseline than either explanted eyes or sham eyes through 42 months. By 60 months and continuing through 96 months, visual field loss was comparable among sham-treated eyes, eyes retaining the implant, and explanted eyes, as was visual acuity and OCT macular volume. Conclusions Over the short term, ciliary neurotrophic factor released continuously from an intravitreal implant led to loss of total visual field sensitivity that was greater than the natural progression in the sham-treated eye. This additional loss of sensitivity related to the active implant was reversible when the implant was removed. Over the long term (60–96 months), there was no evidence of efficacy for visual acuity, visual field sensitivity, or OCT measures of retinal structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-14
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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