What Is Avastin?
Avastin is a drug used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It is also used to treat diabetic eye disease and other problems of the retina. It is injected into the eye to help slow vision loss from these diseases.
Avastin is the brand name for the drug, which is called bevacizumab. It blocks the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the back of the eye. Those blood vessels can leak and affect vision, causing vision loss from wet AMD and diabetic eye disease.
Avastin is one of several anti-VEGF treatments that are injected into the eye.
Avastin was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat different types of cancer. Its use to treat eye disease is considered an “off-label” use. The FDA allows “off label” drug use if doctors are well informed about the product and studies prove the drug is helpful.
Lucentis® (ranibizumab) is another drug like Avastin. Research shows that both Avastin and Lucentis are equally effective in slowing vision loss.
What Are the Risks of Avastin Treatment?
Every treatment can have side effects. It is important to understand the benefits and risks of any treatment you might have. Any eye injection, including Avastin, may cause these problems:
- eye infection
- detached retina (where the retina lifts up from the back of the eye)
- cataracts (clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens)
Other side effects may include:
Call your ophthalmologist right away if you have any of these problems within a few days of Avastin treatment.
If you have any questions about your eyes or your vision, be sure to ask. Your ophthalmologist is committed to protecting your sight.