Oral Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Drugs and Ocular Adverse Events

Frederick T. Fraunfelder, Frederick (Rick) Fraunfelder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate possible associations between oral anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs and ocular side effects. Methods: Spontaneous reports were collected and evaluated by the National Registry of Drug-Induced Ocular Side Effects on the three oral anti-VEGF drugs (pazopanib, sorafenib, and sunitinib) for possible ocular side effects. Results: Reported side effects include blurred or decreased vision (389 cases); periocular or eyelid edema (273 cases); superficial anterior segment toxicity (270 cases); conjunctival, retinal, or vitreous bleeding (77 cases); retinal detachments (RDs) or retinal tears (RTs) (75 cases); extraocular muscle disorders, including ptosis (51 cases); discoloration of eyelashes (36 cases); retinal arterial or venous occlusions (26 cases); optic nerve disorders, including papilledema and ischemic optic neuropathy (21 cases); uveitis (10 cases); and macular edema (7 cases). Spontaneous reports of possible RD or RT have been associated with pazopanib (31 RDs and 12 RTs), sunitinib (24 RDs and 0 RT), and sorafenib (7 RDs and 2 RTs). Conclusions: Oral anti-VEGF drugs can cause superficial anterior segment side effects. Pazopanib has been reported to be possibly linked to RDs and RTs. This study suggests that sorafenib and sunitinib are suspected as well. RDs were seldom differentiated into rhegmatogenous retinal detachments (RRDs) or non-RRDs. The association of oral anti-VEGF drugs with RRD and RT are unclassified although this suggests a "signal" requiring further study. The association of oral anti-VEGF drugs with serous retinal detachments, while rare, is plausible. Patients on this class of drugs should be instructed to seek immediate ophthalmic consultation if retinal symptoms occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-435
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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