Avastin (Bevacizumab) is a prescription drug injected by our Jacksonville area board-certified ophthalmologists into the eye of patients suffering from a number of eye-related vision problems. Dr. Shawn Agee and Dr. John Sullivan use this medication to slow down the gradual vision loss of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), where the membrane of the retina eventually breaks, leading to the formation of new, abnormal blood vessels. As a result, Avastin is effective since the drug is classified as an anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), which blocks the growth of these abnormal blood vessels.
In addition, Avastin is often an effective treatment for one of the side effects of diabetic retinopathy, the swelling of the macula (central portion of the retina). Other eye diseases and conditions can be treated with Avastin as determined by your doctor. Although the drug is F.D.A.-approved to treat a variety of cancers, Avastin is “off-label” in regards to treating eye issues, but has been proven safe and effective.
What to Expect
An Avastin treatment is considered an outpatient procedure. Prior to the injection, your ophthalmologist will thoroughly clean out your eye in order to prevent any infections. Next, an anesthetic will be used to numb the eye. A fine needle will be used to inject the drug into the back of your eye, which goes through the vitreous gel in the middle of the eye. The process is repeated about every 4 – 6 weeks, as needed, usually over the course of several months for you to receive maximum benefit.
In some cases, other AMD treatments are combined with Avastin to provide superior results. While some patients have successful results where further vision loss is prevented, previous vision loss may not be restored. Patients should also keep in mind that future vision loss may not be completely prevented with the drug. In rare cases, some patients experience a worsening of their condition.
Avastin can be an extremely effective treatment for patients with AMD and various eye conditions and diseases that contribute to vision loss. If you have any questions about the drug, our helpful and knowledgeable staff would be more than happy to answer them. Please call our office today for a consultation.