Retinal disease therapy: ocular injections of antiangiogenic drugs

Dr. Sara Velilla is performing at Los Manzanos clinic in Logroño the treatment with injections of anti-angiogenic drugs for the most prevalent retinal diseases.

What are ocular injections of anti-angiogenic drugs?

Ocular injections of anti-angiogenic drugs are a treatment that in recent years has improved the quality of life of people suffering from retinal diseases that were previously doomed to low vision or blindness, such as wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and retinal venous thrombosis.

These are drugs that inhibit vascular growth factors and mediators of neovascularization. Although the causes of these retinal diseases are different, they have in common the presence of neovessels that damage the retina and compromise vision.

What are the benefits of ocular injection therapy with anti-angiogenic drugs?

These drugs have been shown to improve vision and restore macular and retinal anatomy. At least three injections in a row spaced one month apart are necessary and an average of five to seven injections are usually required in the first year depending on the indication and three to five in the second year. Numerous studies are underway to optimize the efficacy of these treatments.

Ocular injections of anti-angiogenic drugs: treatment

Before the procedure is performed, a complete ophthalmological examination, including a fundus examination, is essential. An optical coherence tomography scan is performed which accurately establishes retinal thickening prior to treatment and during the subsequent evolution.

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The injection itself is a short procedure. It involves the injection of a minimal volume into the vitreous cavity. It can be performed in the operating room or in the office, but always under minimum aseptic conditions. It is performed with topical anesthesia (through drops) and generally does not cause discomfort. The patient can lead a normal life after the injection and the improvement is gradual over the following 30 days.

Are there any risks associated with ocular injections of antigiogenic drugs?

As in every intervention, the greatest risk is the possible infection of the eye. However, if a correct prophylaxis is carried out, the risk is minimal. Local and systemic risks have also been described, although the frequency is very low.

For more information on this treatment, consult an Ophthalmology specialist.