Some people are not familiar with a drug called anti-VEGF. A protein produced by the cells in your body is called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). They are responsible for producing new blood vessels when the body needs it. There are times where the cells produce too much VEGF that results in the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye. The abnormal growth of blood vessels can harm your vision and damage your eye.
About one out of 3 people who take anti-VEGF treatment has improved vision. If you are one of those people who have wet AMD and other diseases of the retina, your ophthalmologist will treat you using the anti-VEGF. The growth of blood vessels in the eye is slowed with anti-VEGF medicine. When it blocks the VEGF, the damage from the abnormal blood vessels and vision loss is prevented. There are instances where it can even improve vision.
An ophthalmologist may use anti-VEGF medicine as a treatment for the following eye problems:
● Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when there is a leakage of fluid or blood into the macula from abnormal blood vessels. This chronic eye disorder can cause blind spots in the visual field and blurred vision.
● Macular edema or the swelling of the macula or the area responsible for central vision. Distorted vision may occur due to the fluid buildup.
● Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that is a complication of diabetes. It affects the blood vessels in the retina which can lead to vision loss.
● Retinal vein occlusion occurs when the vein in the retina becomes blocked by a blood clot. Sudden permanent blindness or blurry vision can be present in the affected eye.
Different Kinds of Anti-VEGF Treatments
Avastin, Lucentis, and Eylea are the three main anti-VEGF medicines. In general, ophthalmologists consider these three types to be effective and safe treatments for retinal disease. The only difference that these medicines have is the packaging, cost, and the packaging-associated risks.
How Anti-VEGF Is Given as Treatment
1. The ophthalmologist will clean your eye to prevent any infection from occurring.
2. The eye will be numbed to reduce the pain.
3. A small device will be placed on your eye to keep the eyelids from blocking the way.
4. The drug will be injected by your ophthalmologist in the white part of the eye using a very thin needle.
5. Usually, you do not see the needle itself because the injection only takes a few seconds.