Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related Macular Degeneration is an age-related change of the retina that can cause blurriness, distortion, or a gray spot in the central vision, usually starting after age 50. There are two forms with very different features.
Dry AMD evolves slowly over many years with gradual degenerative changes of the central retina, while wet AMD may progress quickly over days or weeks. Features of the wet form include bleeding or fluid collection, which arise from an abnormal growth of blood vessels underneath the retina. A proven combination of vitamins can reduce the risk of progression in selected patients with dry AMD. Wet AMD can be treated with injections of medication that can stabilize vision in most patients and improve vision in some patients.
The three most frequently used medication are: Avastin (not FDA approved), Lucentis (FDA approved) and Eylea (FDA approved). All three medications work by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factors. You Physician may start with one medication and may recommend another based on your response to treatment.
What to expect
The medication is delivered into the eye with a very fine 30-31 gauge needle. We attempt to make the treatment as comfortable as possible. You will be given a series of topical numbing agents based on your degree of discomfort during the treatment. It is imperative to create a safe sterile injection site on your eye to minimize the risk of infection (endophthalmitis risk 1 in 10,000). Your Physician will place a small eyelid holder (speculum) in your eye to hold your eyelids open and off the surface of your eye. We ask no one to talk during the treatment so as to minimize any possible aerosol contaminant in the air. Several drops of a sterilizing agent (betadine) will be placed on your eye. This drop can sometimes burn but only for 10-20 seconds. The technician assisting will sometimes stabilize your head as you receive the injection so as to minimize the chance of head motion during the treatment. After the injection your eye will be rinsed with sterile saline and more topical numbing drops to remove any residual betadine. Preservative free lubricating tear drops are recommended frequently immediately following your treatment. We ask you to call the office if you are experiencing any symptoms of pain, vision loss, extra redness, or light sensitivity.