The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive nerve tissue in the back of the eye. The macula is the part of the retina responsible for the central part of our vision. Neovascular or wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when tiny, delicate blood vessels grow abnormally into the retina in a process called neovascularization. The weak capillaries leak blood and damage the cells in the retina and macula, causing a progressive loss of vision.
How does Lucentis work? Wet AMD is caused by new blood vessels growing and leaking fluid in the macula. This causes damage to the macula. The Macula -- which is the center of your retina -- plays a key role in your central vision.
To visualize this, imagine the roots of a tree growing and spreading until the actually uproot a sidewalk. Then imagine rainwater seeping up throughout the cracks. These abnormal blood vessels (the "roots") tend to be very fragile. They often grow, and leak or bleed, causing scarring of the macula. This damage to the macula results in rapid central vision loss. LUCENTIS can stop the fragile roots from growing and spreading.
LUCENTIS™ (ranibizuman injection) is the newest wet AMD treatment developed exclusively for use in the eye. In key clinical studies, about 95% of patients found that their vision stayed the same and up to 40% of patients found that their vision improved.
Photodynamic Therapy is used to treat "wet" macular degeneration. It is an in-office procedure, during which Visudyne (verteporfin) is injected intravenously, followed by applying a laser beam of light to the retina. The laser activates the drug within the abnormal blood vessels of the retina to stop their growth. The procedure is painless.
Following the treatment, patients should avoid direct exposure to sunlight for several days.
Photodynamic Therapy may preserve and, in some cases, improve vision. Repeat treatments may be needed, averaging 4 to 6 treatments at three-month intervals. Photodynamic therapy may be used in combination with other modalities to potentiate its effect and decrease the number of retreatments.
Macugen (pegaptanib sodium) injection is an FDA approved drug for "wet" macular degeneration. Macugen blocks a key signal that causes abnormal vessels to grow and leak. The goal of therapy with Macugen is to help slow the progression of your disease and preserve your vision. Macugen is delivered by injection directly into the eye after applying a local anesthetic. The procedure is performed in an in-office setting.
Photodynamic Therapy and Macugen Therapy cannot fully stop the disease, but they can slow down the growth of abnormal blood vessels, thus slowing and preventing damage to your sight.
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