Wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD) treatment
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Without treatment, wAMD can lead to functional blindness. But there are treatments that can help slow the disease. In some cases, these treatments can improve vision. These treatments include:
These treatments target one or more of the proteins that stimulate growth of the leaky vessels in the eye. These treatments have been shown to slow down the progression of wAMD in many people and, in some cases, improve vision by reducing the growth of new blood vessels and decreasing leakage. Eye injections are generally very well tolerated, but side effects can include bloodshot eye, blurred vision, increased pressure inside the eye and others. Patients may require multiple treatments. Your eye care specialist, such as an ophthalmologist or a retina specialist, will help determine if an anti-VEGF is right for you.
For PDT, a light-activated drug is injected into the arm and travels through the blood stream, including the new blood vessels in the eye. A light is shone on to the affected part of the eye to activate the drug, and the fragile, leaky blood vessels are destroyed. PDT can slow the progression of wAMD, slow or stop the growth of the area containing the abnormal blood vessels and reduce or stop the leakage. In addition, patients may need to stay out of the sun for several days until the drug has passed through the body, results are often temporary, and patients may require multiple treatments. PDT is not appropriate for all types of wAMD, so talk to your doctor to find out if PDT is a treatment option for you.
Description: A picture showing two types of treatment. In one circle is an eye receiving photodynamic therapy and in a second circle is a picture of an eye receiving an injection.
Narration: There are currently two main treatment options for wet AMD: photodynamic therapy and anti-VEGF therapy.
Description: A three-part picture is drawn. The first part shows a person receiving an injection. The second part is a picture of a doctor aiming a laser into a patient’s eye. The third part shows a close-up of the laser hitting a leaky blood vessel in the eye.
Narration: Photodynamic therapy, also called PDT, is the injection of a drug into the bloodstream that is then activated by a laser aimed at the eye, sealing the leaking blood vessels in the macula. Laser therapies can be effective with repeated treatment but scarring of the macula and additional vision loss may occur.
Description: A three-part picture is drawn. Part one is a picture of a needle aimed at a target with the word “VEGF” in the centre of the target; part two is a picture of a main blood vessel with some small new blood vessels forming and a STOP sign in the top corner; and part three is a picture of a doctor preparing to administer an injection into the eye of a patient.
Narration: Anti-VEGF medicine is a specialized medication for AMD that targets VEGF. It is designed to stop and reverse the formation of new blood vessels and is administered by an injection into the eye. Injection of anti-VEGF medicine can slow further visual loss, and restore some vision in many cases of Wet AMD. This procedure is generally very well tolerated. Risks can include increased pressure in the eye, retinal detachment, vitreous floaters and, very rarely, infection.
Description: The picture shows a doctor handing a piece of paper to a patient. On the same frame a calendar is drawn showing three months with dates circled to represent the injection appointments.
Narration: In most cases, patients will require many regularly-scheduled injections to achieve optimal results. It is important that patients try not to miss any appointments. Even after treatment is stopped, the doctor will typically see patients regularly to monitor for possible recurrence of wet AMD.