Anti-VEGF injections are used to treat a number of retinal diseases including: Diabetic eye disease Age-related macular degeneration, and Retinal vein occlusions
The three main drugs in use are called "Avastin" and "Lucentis" and "Eylea". In Australia, Lucentis and Eylea are licensed for use in the eye whereas Avastin is unlicenced. Despite this, Avastin is widely used and appears to have similar effects and safety profile when compared to Lucentis. Both these drugs are given as an injection using a very fine needle into the vitreous of the eye. The 2 main actions of these drugs are to reduce leakage of fluid into the retina and to cause regression of abnormal blood vessels. As a consequence, vision often improves after treatment.
Injections are usually given on a monthly basis and continued treatment is based on the response to the first few injections. Some patients only require a few injections to treat their disease successfully, whereas others can require regular injections for a long period of time. Each patient is treated on an individual basis. The response to treatment is assessed using parameters including the visual acuity, examination findings and investigations such as optical coherence tomography and fluorescein angiography.
As with all treatments, there is always a small risk. This treatment, however, is generally very safe and well tolerated. Please discuss the relevant risks and benefits with your ophthalmologist.
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