Anti-VEGF treatment is a way to slow vision loss in people with conditions like wet form of AMD (Age related Macular Degeneration), CNVM (Choroidal Neo Vascular Membrane), Severe Diabetic Retinopathy, Macular Edema (swelling), Vascular Blocks, Neovascular Glaucoma (NVG), Vitreous Hemorrhage, etc. These retinal diseases, which were earlier considered incurable, or had very poor results with existing treatments are now being tackled with good results with these anti-VEGF agents.
How does Anti- VEGF help slow vision loss?
A certain chemical in your body is critical in causing abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. That chemical is called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF. Recently,scientists have developed several new drugs (anti-VEGF) that can block the trouble-causing VEGF. Blocking VEGF reduces the growth of abnormal blood vessels, slows their leakage, and helps to slow vision loss.
What happens during an Anti- VEGF treatment?
The anti-VEGF drug must be injected into your eye with a very fine needle. Your ophthalmologist will clean your eye to prevent infection and will administer an anaesthetic to your eye to reduce pain. Usually, patients receive multiple anti-VEGF injections over the course of many months. As with any medical procedure, there is a small risk of complications following anti-VEGF treatment. Any complications that might occur usually result from the injection itself, which in rare circumstances can injure the eye’s lens or retina or lead to an infection. For most people, though, the benefit of the treatment outweighs the small risk of injection injury.
How will I know if I require Anti-VEGF therapy or not?
Your ophthalmologist will determine if the treatment is appropriate for you. In some cases, your ophthalmologist may recommend combining anti-VEGF treatment with other therapies. For instance, some patients also receive photodynamic laser therapy. With this treatment, a special drug is injected into the veins in your arm, where it flows to your macula. Your ophthalmologist uses a special laser to activate this drug in order to close abnormal blood vessels in the macula. The treatment that’s right for you will depend on the specific condition of your retina.
As of now, there are three injections available with us for treatment. These are Lucentis, Avastin and Macugen. These injections are given inside the eye. The procedure is a very small one, but is performed inside the operation theatre to maintain the strict asepsis. The patient is discharged within 10-15 minutes of the procedure, and can resume his/her normal activities immediately.
Fundus photo and OCT of a patient with CRVO with Vision of 1/60 in that eye before treatment.
Fundus Photo and OCT of the same patient 6 weeks after Intravitreal Avastin injection with Vision improved to 6/60.