Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) Treatment
Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition in older adults and the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. Macular degeneration affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for the crisp, detailed central vision needed for reading or driving. As we age, the tissue in the eye responsible for vision slowly begins to deteriorate which can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life.
Treatment of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, there are several treatment options available to help patients manage this condition and preserve their vision. The best treatment option for each patient depends on the severity and type of the condition, as well as how much, if any, permanent vision loss has occurred.
Intraocular injections of vascular endothelial growth factor are often successful in stopping abnormal blood vessel growth in wet macular degeneration. The medications are injected into the vitreous of the eye on a monthly basis to control the damaging effects of wet macular degeneration. Photodynamic therapy is also effective in removing newly developing abnormal blood vessels that are characteristic of wet macular degeneration. Many patients also benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements, which can clear out toxic substances that may build up in advanced cases of this condition.
It is essential for patients with macular degeneration, wet or dry, to seek continuous medical treatment to manage their condition and prevent permanent vision loss from occurring.
Avastin® Intra-vitreal Injections
Avastin, also known as bevacizumab, is a medication that is used to treat age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD, a debilitating eye disease. Avastin works by blocking the body from producing vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, a protein that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow, damaging the macula. Avastin has been shown to improve vision when it is administered on a monthly basis.
The macula is the central part of the retina. The function of the macula is to provide central vision as well as visual detail. In the advanced stages of AMD, known as the wet form, blood vessels grow abnormally, leaking fluid and blood into the macula. Vision becomes obscured and patients experience a loss of central vision.
Avastin blocks the growth of abnormal blood vessels and leakage of fluid from the blood vessels. This reduces swelling in the macula, preventing further vision loss and even improving vision for some patients with AMD.
Originally developed to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, Avastin is FDA-approved for that purpose. Studies have shown that Avastin can effectively be used to treat AMD, resulting in increased vision. Ophthalmologists have been offering Avastin to their patients. Avastin is administered in a series of injections into the vitreous portion of the eye. Injections are usually scheduled 4-6 weeks apart.