Today's treatment options for wet age-related macular degeneration are more effective than ever.
Frank Siringo, M.D., O.D., chief of vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at Omni Eye Specialists in Denver, reviews the current treatments for wet AMD, including anti-VEGF drugs.
Current treatments for wet AMD include four approved drugs. They're all in the same class, and we call them anti-VEGF. VEGF is a molecule that promotes the growth of these abnormal blood vessels we see in wet AMD. So, the anti-VEGF drugs, which we inject into the eye, are very, very good at blocking that molecule, and they do so for at least a month. Sometimes after prolonged treatment, patients can go many months without another injection. In the past, we used to use lasers, so-called hot and cold lasers for AMD, and those treatments were far inferior.
In the future, in the very near future, there will likely be some surgical options for wet AMD as well. These will essentially deliver the same VEGF-inhibiting drugs over a sustained basis so that patients don't have to get monthly injections. There are also some other drugs in the pipeline that will be long-term polymers, or these sort-of molecules that dissolve over a long period of time, to minimize the need for treatments.