Avastin (Bevacizumab) Intravitreal Injection for Wet Macular Degeneration
Avastin works by blocking vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) a'hormone' that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in wet macular degeneration.
The goal of treatment is to improve vision and prevent further loss of vision.
Avastin has to be given by an injection within the eye. The procedure takes only a few minutes. The eye is numbed with drops and a prop put in to gently hold the lids apart. Antiseptic eye drops are administered. The Avastin is then injected into the vitreous within the eye.
There is often some blood on the white of the eye which gradually clears. The eye may be slightly sore and watery for a day or so. You can see the Avastin in your vision as one or more floating blobs which gradually go over about three days.
The risks appear are present but are low. Any medication has the potential to cause allergic reactions in a very small number of people. Possible complications and side effects of the procedure and administration of Avastin include infection (1 per 2000 injections or less), damage to the retina (rare), cataract formation (clouding of the lens of the eye), glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye) and bleeding. Any of these complications may lead to loss of vision.
If you develop decreased vision, severe pain, redness (compared to immediately after the injection), or discharge from the eye immediately contact me: Treatment course
After a single Avastin injection a positive response is very common, that is the abnormal blood vessels will become less active and vision improves. I will examine the eye again 4-6 weeks after treatment. Your vision will be measured and an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan taken. I will be able to decide if the CNV has responded, either partially or completely.
A minimum course of three or four treatments, 3-8 weeks apart is recommended but many patients need up to two years of treatment.
Once the course is complete and the wet macular degeneration is inactive, the time between injections can be gradually increased, ideally to 8 then 10 weeks. Once a 10 week gap has been reached and there is no sign of recurrence then no more injections are given. The eye will then need to be regularly monitored for a further 9-12 months. If there is any sign of re-activation of disease a further treatment course will be needed.