Your ophthalmologist may treat your wet AMD or other disease of the retina with a drug called anti-VEGF. Anti-VEGF treatment improves vision in about one third (1 out of 3) people who take it. For a vast majority (9 out of 10), it at least stabilizes vision.
What is Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor?
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a protein produced by cells in your body. VEGF produces new blood vessels when your body needs them.
Why Do You Want to Stop VEGF From Working?
Sometimes cells can produce too much VEGF. When this happens, abnormal blood vessels can grow in your eye. These abnormal blood vessels damage your eye and harm your vision. This can lead to low vision or blindness.
What Conditions Are Treated with Anti-VEGF Medicine?
Anti-VEGF medicine blocks VEGF, slowing the growth of blood vessels in the eye. This slows or stops damage from the abnormal blood vessels and slows down vision loss. Sometimes it can even improve vision.
Ophthalmologists use anti-VEGF medicines to treat the following eye problems:
What are the Differences Between the Kinds of Anti-VEGF Treatments?
There are three main anti-VEGF medicines:
Ophthalmologists generally consider all three to be safe and effective treatments for retinal disease. One study that compared the effectiveness of Lucentis and Avastin found them both effective for treating Wet AMD. The differences among Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea have to do with cost, packaging, and possibly with some packaging-associated risk. A number of new anti-VEGF drugs are nearing approval, and patients may have more treatment options in coming years.
How Anti-VEGF Treatment Is Given
This is what you can expect during the treatment:
- Your ophthalmologist will clean your eye to prevent infection.
- The eye is numbed to reduce pain.
- A small device may be placed on your eye to keep your eyelids out of the way.
- Your ophthalmologist injects the drug through the white part of your eye using a very thin needle.
- The injection only takes a few seconds. You usually do not see the needle itself.
Your ophthalmologist will decide how many treatments you need. You may need other types of treatment along with anti-VEGF treatment.