What are Anti-VEGF Treatments?

Anti-VEGF treatments involve the injection of a specific group of medicines known as anti-VEGF drugs into the eye to stabilize or improve vision in patients with certain eye conditions.

How do Anti-VEGF treatments work?

Anti-VEGF medicines block the action of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is a protein produced by your body that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. When injected into the eye, the anti-VEGF medication inhibits the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the back of the eye which may leak resulting in swelling that can harm your vision.

Indications for Anti-VEGF Treatments

Anti-VEGF treatments can be used to treat the following eye conditions:

  • Diabetic macular oedema
  • Wet age-related macular degeneration
  • Macular oedema due to retinal vein occlusion
  • Myopic choroidal neovascularisation

Types of Anti-VEGF Treatments

The main anti-VEGF treatments which are considered safe and effective for treatment of retinal disease are:

  • Avastin
  • Lucentis
  • Eylea

Preparation for Anti-VEGF Treatment

You must inform your doctor about:

  • Medications or vitamins you are currently taking as certain medications may interact with the anti-VEGF drugs and cause eye problems
  • Allergies to medications
  • Health conditions such as uncontrolled hypertension or eye infections

Anti-VEGF Treatment Procedure

The anti-VEGF treatment procedure involves the following steps:

  • You will be seated in a comfortable semi-reclined position in a chair.
  • Your eye will be cleaned to prevent infection.
  • Your face and the area around the eye will be draped to maintain sterile conditions.
  • Pain relieving eye drops will be administered to numb the eye.
  • A device may be placed to keep your eyelids open.
  • The injection is administered into the white portion of your eyeball which is known as the sclera. It takes 15-20 seconds and most patients do not experience pain during the procedure.
  • Your eyesight will be assessed post injection and antibiotic drops may be administered, after which the drapes are removed.

Post-Operative Care after Anti-VEGF Treatments

  • You may be provided with antibiotic eye drops that you should use for 3-4 days to prevent infection.
  • Avoid swimming or getting water into your eyes for a couple of days after the injection.
  • There may be slight discomfort, redness, and ‘floaters’ in the eye which will go away on its own in a few days.
  • Most patients require a course of 3 anti-VEGF injections administered at 4-week intervals to obtain maximum benefit.

Risks of Anti-VEGF Treatments

Anti-VEGF treatments are very safe however there is a minimal risk of complications that include:

  • Eye infection
  • Eye pain
  • Increased eye pressure
  • Bleeding
  • Cataract formation
  • Detachment of the retina

Benefits of Anti-VEGF Treatments

Timely treatment with anti-VEGF injections can improve central detailed vision making it easier for patients with certain eye conditions to read, watch TV, and recognize faces.

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