What is Anti-VEGF Treatment?

In wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels form beneath the retina, which are weak and leak fluid.  This can lead to rapid and severe visual loss if not treated early. The new vessels are formed by a chemical your body produces called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Anti-VEGF treatment works by blocking this growth factor, preventing new and harmful vessel formation and leakage beneath the retina.

How Does Anti-VEGF Treatment Work?

After administering an anesthetic and disinfecting your eye, your ophthalmologist injects the LUCENTIS* anti-VEGF drug into the white part of your eye with a fine needle. Eye drops will be prescribed for a few days afterwards to prevent any infection. Usually, you’ll receive these injections over the course of months or years to maintain the effects. Your eye doctor will advise you about how long you should be treated with LUCENTIS* and if any follow up appointments are necessary.

Side Effects and Risks of Anti-VEGF Treatment

For the most part, there is little risk involved with this procedure. It is possible for the needle to injure the lens or retina, for an infection to follow, or for a retinal detachment. This rarely happens and usually the benefits of treatment outweighs the small risk of injury.

Following treatment, if any signs of eye pain, discomfort, redness, blurred or decreased vision, or an increased sensitivity to light occur, contact your Ophthalmologist immediately.

Some common visual side effects:

  •  Redness or bloodshot eye
  •  Eye pain or irritation
  •  Small particles or spots in vision
  •  Bleeding in the back of your eye
  •  Increased eye pressure
  •  Blurred or decreased vision
  • Clouding of the lens
  • Inflammation or infection
  •  Dry eye
  • Formation of fibrous tissue under the retina

Some common non-visual side effects:

  •  Headache
  •  Increased blood pressure

Serious side effects that should be reported to your doctor:

  • Pain or redness of the eye
  • Increased eye pressure
  • Infection
  • Retinal detachment or tear
  • Clouding of the lens

Is Anti-VEGF Treatment Right for You?

Anti-VEGF treatment only benefits those with the wet form of macular degeneration. In some cases, it may be recommended to combine anti-VEGF therapy with other therapies, such as photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT involves a focused beam of light to target the abnormal leaky blood vessels. Your ophthalmologist will determine the best treatment depending on your specific condition.

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