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Treatments for Wet AMD (Advanced Neovascular AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that can blur the center of your vision. Wet AMD (also called advanced neovascular AMD) is a serious type of late AMD. It happens when a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) makes abnormal blood vessels grow in the wrong place in the back of your eye.

The good news is that there are effective treatments for wet AMD.

There are 2 treatment options that can slow down or stop vision loss from wet AMD: 

  • Anti-VEGF injections 
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) 

If you have vision loss from wet AMD, ask your eye doctor if either of these treatments could help you. 

Ask your doctor about supplements for AMD

If you have intermediate AMD in 1 or both eyes, special dietary supplements (vitamins and minerals) can help stop it from turning into late AMD.

What are anti-VEGF injections?

The most common treatment doctors use to slow vision loss from wet AMD is called anti-VEGF injections. These medicines help stop bleeding and leaking from blood vessels in the back of your eye. Most people with wet AMD will get anti-VEGF injections as their only treatment.

When you get this treatment, your doctor will: 

  • Put numbing medicine in your eye
  • Clean your eye to keep it from getting infected 
  • Put the anti-VEGF medicine into your eye with a very small needle 

Anti-VEGF injections usually only work for a short time, so most people need to get them many times. At first, most people need injections once a month. After that, your doctor will tell you how often you need injections to help stop vision loss from AMD. 

What is photodynamic therapy (PDT)?

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a much less common treatment for wet AMD that doctors sometimes use along with anti-VEGF injections.

PDT works by using a light-sensitive medicine called verteporfin that “turns on” when hit by a specific type of laser (sometimes called a cold laser). Your doctor will shine the laser on a very small area in the back of your eye, causing the verteporfin to break down the blood vessels that are causing your vision loss. 

When you get this treatment, your doctor will: 

  • Give a shot of verteporfin in your arm 
  • Put numbing medicine in your eye
  • Place a special contact lens on your eye to help guide the laser
  • Shine the laser onto the extra blood vessels in the back of your eye 

Some people will need to get PDT more than once. Talk to your doctor to find out if you will need more treatments to help stop vision loss from AMD.

Last updated: June 22, 2021