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Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is when abnormal blood vessels grow and leak under the retina. Patients with this condition can lose central vision as the blood vessels bleed under the retina at the back of the eye. A series of injections of anti-VEGF medicines are given into the back of your eye to stop these blood vessels growing and help control the leaking blood. This treatment is highly effective in preserving central vision in many people.
The treatment of wet AMD has been revolutionised by the advent of two new drugs: Avastin and Lucentis. These two drugs are very similar. They are both given by injection into the eye, usually as an initial course of three one-monthly injections, followed by top-up injections later if necessary. Newer drugs are being developed to treat wet AMD, and the latest, Eylea (aflibercept) is now available at the Midland Eye. This is as effective as Lucentis, but is longer-acting and therefore requires fewer injections.
Your Consultant will determine if the treatment is appropriate for you after assessing your diagnostic scans. Only patients with active leaking of blood and fluid can benefit from the injections. The treatment that’s right for you will depend on the specific condition of your central retina (macula), your vision and whether there is scarring at the centre.
The treatment is a day-case procedure whereby an fine needle is injected into the eye as you are lying down on a medical coach. Local anaesthetic drops are applied to numb your eye and minimise discomfort. You can expect minimal discomfort and the treatment to be complete within 5 to 10 minutes. Your vision is assessed after the injection and further drops administered.
As with any medical procedure, there is a small risk of complications following the treatment. Most complications that might occur are from the injection itself, rather than the drug. For most patients, the benefit of the treatment outweighs the small risk of injection injury.