Introduction Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the main cause of severe visual loss in people with diabetes mellitus. The standard treatment for this condition is panretinal photocoagulation (PRP). This laser treatment is inherently destructive, with predictable adverse effects on visual function, and a safer alternative is required. Intravitreal injection of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors can induce short-term regression of retinal neovascularisation. The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to determine the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of intravitreal aflibercept, an inhibitor of VEGF-A, VEGF-B and placental growth factor (PLGF), in PDR, and to investigate the impact on local oxygenation.
Methods and analysis This is a phase IIb randomised controlled single-masked multicentre clinical trial to determine the impact of repeated intravitreal aflibercept injections in the treatment and prevention of PDR. 220 participants with treatment-naïve or treated but active retinal neovascularisation in at least one eye will be randomly allocated 1:1 to intravitreal aflibercept injections or PRP for a period of 52 weeks. The primary outcome is the change in best-corrected visual acuity in the study eye at 52 weeks. Secondary outcomes include changes from baseline in other visual functions, anatomical changes and cost-effectiveness. Ocular and non-ocular adverse events will also be reported over 52 weeks.
Ethics and dissemination The study has been approved by the National Research Ethics Service (NRES) committee with respect to scientific content and compliance with applicable research and human subjects’ regulations. Findings will be reported through scientific publications and research conferences. The results of this study will provide clinical evidence for the feasibility, efficacy safety and cost-effectiveness of intravitreal aflibercept for PDR.