Presently, treatment for active wet macular degeneration involves intraocular injections of anti-VEGF medications. These medications are often injected into the eye so that the drugs can act directly on the retina. “Wet” macular degeneration is so named due to the presence of abnormal blood vessels growing in between the layers of the retina.
These blood vessels can leak, bleed and directly cause damage to the retina layers. These anti-VEGF injections work by chemically causing the abnormal vessels to shrink and thereby halting further damage.
Macular degeneration causes blurring of central vision and may include distortion.
Wet vs. Dry Macular Degeneration
Dry macular degeneration is much more common than it’s wet counterpart. About 90% of all macular degeneration is the “dry” form. Dry macular degeneration is more slowly progressive and has no treatment.
Wet macular degeneration represents about 10% of all patients with macular degeneration. Wet macular degeneration tends to be more aggressive due to the presence of the abnormal blood vessels. These abnormal blood vessels are called “neovascularization.”
Diagnosis of Wet Macular Degeneration
The diagnosis of macular degeneration is facilitated by dilating your pupils and directly examining the retina. Diagnostic testing can also help your retina specialist distinguish between the two types of macular degeneration. A fluorescein angiogram and 0ptical coherence tomography (OCT) are often helpful in making a final diagnosis.
Anti-VEGF Intraocular Injections
There are 3 similar anti-VEGF medications used by a retina specialist for the treatment of wet macular degeneration:
The 3 drugs are very similar in chemical composition and vary slightly in their use among retina specialist. All seem to be effective and safe for treating wet macular degeneration.
Most patients will require repeated injections for several months or longer depending upon the condition. The injections do not hurt as the eye is numbed before the very tiny and thin needle is used to deliver the medicine.
Anti-VEGF treatments are most effective if the disease is caught early. Common symptoms of macular degeneration include rapid blurring of vision with distortion. Call your eye doctor if you experience any sudden changes in your vision.
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