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"Wet" Macular Degeneration Treatment


Lucentis (ranibizumab injection) is the newest wet (A)ge-Related (M)acular (D)egeneration treatment developed exclusively for use in the eye. Lucentis is the only treatment that is FDA approved to maintain or improve vision in patients with wet AMD. 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. 

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 macular - 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 they 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.

What to expect from treatment with Lucentis...

Lucentis is given by injection into your eye in your ophthalmologist's office. After your injection, you can go home. You may want to bring a friend or family member with you so they can drive you home after the injection. Your eyes may be sensitive to light because they will have been dilated. Prior to your injection, your eye will be cleaned to avoid an infection.  Then your eye will be numbed. Once your eye has been numbed, you will feel a little pressure on your eye. In clinical studies, some patients were given Lucentis monthly and others were given Lucentis less often. On average, those receiving Lucentis monthly saw the most improvement in their vision. But because everyone is different, your ophthalmologist should closely monitor your progress to determine the right treatment schedule for you. 

After an injection:

  • You may have some redness on the white part of your eye at the injection site

  • You may see 1 or 2 specks in your vision

  • Your ophthalmologist may give you antibiotic eye drops to use for few days after the injection. He or she will tell you how to use them properly.

  • Ask your ophthalmologist if there are activities you should avoid.

  • Check your vision in both eyes using an Amsler grid and note any changes.

Contact your ophthalmologist if your vision gets worse or the redness and specks don't go away after a few days.

Who Can Benefit from Lucentis?

Lucentis is a prescription medicine for the treatment of patients with wet AMD. Like any prescription medication, Lucentis is not for everyone. You should not use Lucentis if you have an infection in or around the eye. Like other injections given into the eye, serious eye infection and detached retina have occurred with Lucentis. Increases in eye pressure have been seen within one hour of an injection. 

Your eye doctor will carefully monitor your eye pressure and eye health during the week after every injection. Although uncommon, conditions with certain blood clots (arterial thromboembolic events) may occur. Serious side-effects related to the injection procedure were rare. These included serious eye infection, detached retina, and cataract.  Other uncommon serious side effects included inflammation inside the eye and increased eye pressure. The most common side-effects were red eye, eye pain, and small specks in vision.

Looking ahead...

Over time, after getting regular treatments of Lucentis, about 95% of patients noticed that their vision stayed the same and up to 40% of patients noticed an improvement in their vision. Reading and watching T.V. are usually less troublesome. Blurry vision and wavy lines should also lessen.

There is no cure for AMD. But in can become a manageable condition by treating it regularly with Lucentis.

(We would like to give due credit and thank Lucentis for the above information provided.)


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