Understand how wet AMD treatment works
If you’ve been diagnosed with wet AMD you may have heard about anti-VEGF treatment. While it may sound complicated, this is really just a name for a type of medicine given by injection at the eye care clinic. Anti-VEGF treatment can help protect your eyes, and it may slow down or stop your vision loss1.
VEGF stands for “vascular endothelial growth factor,” a protein that causes blood vessels to grow1. In wet macular degeneration, there’s too much VEGF in the eye. This causes the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the back of the eye 1. These blood vessels can leak blood and fluid, which can cause blurry, wavy and distorted central vision 2 .
As the name suggests, anti-VEGF injections prevent excess VEGF from growing abnormal blood vessels and causing disease1. Here are some details about how an anti-VEGF injections work to slow the progression of wet macular degeneration 3.
- The liquid inside your anti-VEGF injection is made of small molecules that attach to VEGF proteins.
- Once attached to VEGF, these molecules trap it, slowing and preventing the production of new, abnormal blood vessels.
- By slowing the growth of abnormal, leaky blood vessels, the anti-VEGF injection works to block excess fluid from damaging your eye.
- Wet AMD is a lifelong condition, and most patients require regular treatment with anti-VEGF injections to manage the disease. Keeping up with a treatment schedule is important in order to make sure no new abnormal blood vessels develop. If successful, these anti-VEGF injections can help maintain and stop vision loss4.
Kim R. Introduction, mechanism of action and rationale for antivascular endothelial growth factor drugs in age-related macular degeneration. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2007;55(6):413-415.
National Eye Institute. Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Available at https://nei.nih.gov/eyedata/amd. Accessed October 2020.
Yorston D. Anti-VEGF drugs in the prevention of blindness. Community Eye Health 27(87): 44–46. 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc
National Eye Institute. Learn about Eye Health. Available at :https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/age-related-macular-degeneration/wet-amd-type-late-age-related-macular-degeneration-read-about-treatments-wet-amd-anti-vegf. Accessed Aug 2021.