Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of permanent vision loss and blindness in adults in the developed world. Early detection of CNV results in improved visual outcomes in patients. The current study investigated the feasibility of low-level laser therapy (LLLT)-assisted vascular epithelial growth factor (VEGF) intravitreal injections to increase angiogenesis. In addition, the developed CNV model was evaluated by photoacoustic microscopy (PAM), optical coherence tomography (OCT), and fluorescein angiography (FA) imaging systems. Dual laser wavelengths of 660 and 780 nm were used to activate VEGF to enhance new blood vessels angiogenesis. Ten New Zealand white rabbits were injected intravitreally with recombinant human VEGF165 at a dose of 10 μg/0.1 mL injection followed by laser at an irradiance of 3 and 4 J/cm2 or control (no laser) New blood vessel formation was monitored by PAM, OCT, and FA. Area of neovascularization was imaged and quantified bi-weekly after treatment for 1 month. Laser-enhanced VEGF increased the area of neovascularization after treatment in comparison with VEGF injection only. The location of CNV was obviously identified by PAM, OCT, and FA. The proposed LLLT-assisted VEGF together with multimodal imaging system can serve as a useful technique for clinical detection and diagnostics of CNV and may provide the functional information in the changes.
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