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Macular Degeneration – Intraocular Injections – In Your Eyes

There are two types of macular degeneration; wet and dry. The wet form is determined by the presence of abnormal vessels developing in the retina layers. These nasal congestions that are termed chronic neovascularization, leak, bleed, and damage the retina. Although there is no treatment in the dry form, treatment for wet macular degeneration is intraocular injection of anti-VEGF drugs.

What is VEGF? Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) is a protein released by the cells in the retina. Growth factor creates new blood vessels and keeps them alive. Without a growth factor, no new ship can grow, and clusters of abnormal vessels shrink and disappear. Anti-VEGF drugs are antibodies or antibody-like molecules designed to bind to VEGF molecules and to prevent VEGF from working. For ARMD, VEGF is excreted from the circulation and none are available to promote the growth of neovascular vessels.

Macugen® (pegaptanib) was the first anti-VEGF drug for intraocular injections. The FDA allowed ophthalmic use in 2004. This was the first treatment where patients actually regained sight. The injections are given as a series; Lucentis® (ranibizumab) In 2006, the FDA approved the treatment of wet macular degeneration. This also prevents VEGF molecules from bonding or "joining" to their receptors. It is directed against many forms of VEGF.

Avastin® (bevacizumab) is a chemotherapeutic drug used to treat certain types of kidney, lung, brain, breast and colon cancer. It is a VEGF agent, and is very similar to Lucentis. Also manufactured by Genentech / Roche.

Avastin has become a standard for wet macular degeneration in some areas of the United States . Although the FDA has not allowed the eye, most retina experts decide to treat this as acceptable. The results are comparable to those of Lucentis. Avastin is much cheaper than the Lucentis in the amounts used in eyes.

Each injection is still in series. The most significant risk of injections is blindness (also known as endophthalmitis) and retinal detachment. The chance of developing endophthalmitis is the same as cataract surgery

Medicines for VEGF are very useful because visual results are usually satisfied. When he was caught in time, many patients had a vision of improvement. This is a new concept for the otherwise "blinding" illness.

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