Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment for eye diseases

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2970 (Published 01 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2970
  1. Ning Cheung, assistant professor1,
  2. Dennis S C Lam, honorary professor1,
  3. Tien Y Wong, professor2
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China, Hong Kong SAR, China
  2. 2Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore
  1. dannycheung{at}hotmail.com

Treatment is clearly effective but important clinical and public health implications remain

Decades of research into angiogenesis have led to a triumph in medical intervention with the development of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) treatment for eye diseases. Intraocular administration of anti-VEGF agents, principally ranibizumab (Lucentis) and bevacizumab (Avastin), has revolutionised the treatment of several common eye diseases that lead to blindness, including age related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion.1 2 3 The increased use of these agents in ophthalmology has enabled patients with these eye diseases to preserve or regain useful vision. Emerging evidence indicates that such treatment may account for much of the falling incidence of blindness in some developed countries over the past few years.4

The exponential rise in the use of anti-VEGF drugs for treating eye disease has far reaching implications,5 but what are the key messages for patients and their doctors? Firstly, patients should present early when their vision is affected. There is evidence that earlier treatment results in better outcomes.6 Secondly, ocular anti-VEGF treatment is not a cure, although it provides effective control of the disease by inhibiting …

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