Age related macular degeneration is a medical condition that results in distortion or loss of vision in the macula or center of the visual field in older adults due to damage to the retina. It is of two forms; “dry” and “wet." It is one of the major causes of visual impairment in adults, usually above the age of 50. This condition may hamper recognition of faces in those affected, but leaves enough peripheral vision to allow continuation of regular daily activities.
Although surgery is one of the most common treatment options, there are a number of FDA approved and unapproved drugs that have been known to reduce impairment in older adults or at least partially restore lost vision. Some of them are included here.
1. One of the most used drug treatments for macular degeneration is Lucentis or Ranibizumab, which was approved by the FDA in June 2006. This macular degeneration drug treatment is known to partially cure the most advanced or the “wet” form of macular degeneration in adults by inhibiting the proteins called VEGF or Vascular endothelial growth factor. VEGF promotes the growth of new blood vessels in the body, and usually promotes the growth of abnormal vessels in the retina which hinder eyesight.
2. Macugen or Pegatanib sodium is another newer drug treatment for macular degeneration which attacks the VEGF protein in the eye. This drug treatment for macular degeneration is administered through injections in the eye and needs treatment every six or seven weeks from start of the treatment. Macugen has been known to reduce vision loss in adults and is a very effective drug treatment for macular degeneration.
3. Visudyne was one of the first drug treatments for macular degeneration and has been approved for the treatment of the wet form of macular degeneration. It is highly effective in those patients who have new blood vessel growth which is also known as neovascularisation. It is administered as an injection in the arm. This drug for macular degeneration is passed through the retinal blood vessels and activated by shining a low energy laser beam in the eye.
4. VEGF Trap-Eye is another one of the drug treatments for macular degeneration although it is not yet FDA approved. This is also administered through the eye and is known for inhibiting the formation of abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina occurring due to excess VEGF.
5. iSONEP is an effective drug treatment of macular degeneration that is in the early stages of clinical trials. It involves the administration of an antibody into the eye and has the same treatment methods as the previously discussed drugs. It also reduces the excess amount of fibrous tissue and inflammation.
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