Anti - VEGF drugs
Anti-VEGF drugs are a new group of "smart" drugs that have been used to treat retinal disease in the last 10 years. These drugs have significantly improved treatment outcomes of hitherto incurable or complicated retinal diseases. They are most commonly applied in the treatment of wet macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, thrombosis of blood vessels of the retina and some other retinal diseases. At the clinic Svjetlost, we started treatment with anti-VEGF drugs in 2005, just a few months after their first ophthalmic use in the United States. Since the first application of Avastin, and after the development of new drugs, we were the first in Croatia to apply Lucentis and Eylea. Today we apply all globally accessible intraocular drugs.
We are currently participating in the implementation of an American study for testing Fovista, a new smart drug for wet macular degeneration, and are certified by the US regulatory authorities confirming that we meet the highest level of diagnostic and technological standard for the testing of new drugs.
How to apply anti-VEGF drugs?
At the clinic Svjetlost, we apply anti-VEGF drugs during an outpatient treatment in a clean room which is especially designed for the application of these injections. The entire procedure takes 15 minutes. The eye is anesthetized by eye drops, disinfected with iodine and then an injection with a thin 30 gauge needle is applied. The application is painless and the patient is immediately discharged. After that, the patient may remove the bandage from the eye and administers artificial tears for a several few days. The treatment is implemented on a monthly basis and must be applied for months or years with a possible break with regular check ups.
Eylea (aflibercept) is the latest and most powerful drug from the group of anti-VEGF drugs that is administered by injection into the eye to treat the diseases of the fundus. Eylea operates in a similar manner as other drugs from the anti-VEGF group. It blocks the factor that is responsible for the bleeding and the formation of new blood vessels in the retina of the eye (visible membrane that lines the inner part of the eye and is the most important for sight) and thus slows down, stops, and in some patients even improves visual acuity. What makes this drug special is influencing another factor, the placental growth factor (PlGF), and the effect of this drug is multiple, and thus more effective.
It is primarily used in patients who have the yellow spot disease (center of vision) that leads to the formation of new blood vessels that leak and bleed, and the disease is referred to as wet degeneration of the macula (yellow spot).
Indications have been extended to the treatment of the swelling of the retina caused by blockage in the circulation such as central retinal vein thrombosis and in patients having diabetic retinopathy - retinal complications due to a long-term and poorly controlled diabetes.
Recent studies show that Eyela is a better drug than Avastin and Lucentis, which are still used in the treatment of these diseases and are very effective drugs. Eylea is more prone to the factor of degenerate blood vessels, the effect is prolonged, which in practice means that we need fewer injections in longer intervals.
What does this mean for the patient?
For these diseases, it is necessary to administer multiple injections in order to control the disease and it is not possible to tell in advance how many injections will be required and whether the disease will re-occur after the withdrawal of the symptoms after the first application of the injection. It is is necessary to administer other drugs on a monthly basis. Eylea is most commonly administered every two months, which is practical for the patient, reduces the stress due to frequent visits to the doctor, and, due to multiple action mechanisms, the treatment effect is better than with previous drugs in this group.
Why should you choose the clinic Svjetlost?
We have an extensive 10-year experience in the treatment with anti-VEGF injections. The procedure is painless, quick and is carried out as an outpatient treatment. It is not necessary to wait, and we have all the available drugs. We are the only clinic in the region that uses the most modern Swept Source OCT which has the best resolution and thereby detects the subtlest changes in macular diseases. In the unlikely event of eye infection after administering the injection, which occurs in 1 out of 1000 patients at the global level, we immediately organize, within 24 hours, operative treatment of such an infection, which is important for preventing complications of the infection.