In wet age related macular degeneration (AMD), abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak blood and fluid. This causes rapid damage to the macula, the portion of the eye responsible for fine, detailed central vision. Avastin (bevacizumab) is an antibody that inhibits VEGF-A, a protein which plays a critical role in the formation of new blood vessels. It was developed for use in cancer, but has gained in popularity as a treatment for AMD as it is very closely related to Lucentis, a medication shown to be extremely effective for AMD in clinical trials. Controlled trials have shown similar results with Avastin, at a much lower medication cost.
In addition to wet AMD, other conditions of the eye such as retinal vein occlusions and diabetic retinopathy are characterised by excess blood vessel growth and leakage, and in many cases are also amenable to treatment with Avastin.
The medication is delivered by injection into the vitreous jelly, which fills the eye. Close monitoring is required, with examinations every month, and repeat injections are likely.
The doctors at Retina Specialists are Southern Cross-affiliated providers of intravitreal injections.