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The “wet” form of age-related macular degeneration is characterized by the growth of pathological blood vessels under the central zone of the retina (or macula). Due to their fragility, blood and fluid often penetrate, lifting the macula from its normal position. All this becomes the cause of pathological changes in the center of the retina. “Wet” macular degeneration progresses much faster than the “dry” form and leads to a sharp and rapid decrease in visual function in the area of central vision.
Today, the symptoms of age-related macular degeneration are treatable. However, not so long ago there was only one way to stop the “leakage” of vessels in wet AMD — laser coagulation. But this method did not allow to eliminate the cause of the appearance of pathological vessels, and was only a temporary measure.
In the early 2000s, a more effective treatment called targeted therapy was developed. This method is based on the action of special substances on the VEGF protein.
Intravitreal administration of anti-VEGF drugs targets a protein that causes abnormal retinal vascular growth. Such treatment allows to delay the progression of the disease for many years and significantly improve the patient’s visual acuity, including the quality of life of patients with macular degeneration.
Despite the high efficiency of intravitreal injections (injected into the vitreous cavity) of anti-VEGF drugs, they work only until the formation of rough scars on the retina.
For intravitreal administration in AMD, the most commonly used drugs are Lucentis and Eylea.
Lucentis was the first drug developed to treat wet macular degeneration. A few years later, the drug Eylea was also used for the treatment of AMD.
Lucentis (Ranibizumab) is a highly effective treatment for wet AMD. Lucentis is a type of anti-VEGF drug called a monoclonal antibody fragment that was developed to treat diseases of the retina of the eye. It is injected directly into the eye as an endovitreal injection and can stabilize vision and even reverse vision loss.
Eylea (Aflibercept) is also a highly effective drug for the treatment of wet AMD, given at a lower frequency. Eylea is a type of anti-VEGF drug known as a fusion protein that is injected directly endovitreally into the patient’s eye to treat wet AMD. Eylea acts directly on VEGF as well as on another protein called placental growth factor (PGF), which has also been found in excess in the retina of patients with wet macular degeneration.
Currently, the so-called anti-VEGF therapy has completely changed the approach to AMD treatment, allowing to preserve vision and maintain the quality of life of millions of people around the world.
This publication has been prepared with the support of the Presidential Grants Fund