Those needle-injected drugs directly into the eye are effective, if you can make it to the doctor regularly

Injected drugs used to inhibit the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the back of the eye fall short of their reported effectiveness says a recent review.  “In the real world, macular degeneration patients do poorly.  There has to be a better way to address the ocular healthcare of these patients,” said one eye physician.

The data shows patients with the worst vision (worse than 20/200) certainly gained more vision (saw more letters on the eye chart) over time, but patients whose vision was 20/40 to 20/200 (this means they had to stand 20 feet away from the eye chart to see what another person with good sight could see standing 40-200 feet away) didn’t fare very well. On average, some lost vision (saw fewer letter on the eye chart).  20/20 is best vision; 20/200 or more is worst vision.

Number of Letters Visualized (Gained or Lost) On Eye Chart
Baseline Visual Acuity 6-Month Cohort 12-Month Cohort 24-Month Cohort
20/200 +8.8 +8.9 +19.9
20/70 to 20/200 -4.6 -1.3 +2.6
20/40 to 20/70 -1.9 -5.6 -1.2
20/40 or better -5.2 -4.5 -5.2

The primary reason why patients lost vision was because they got fewer injections. Only about 1.5% of patients receive monthly injections probably because doctors know patients really don’t like having needles injected directly into their eyes.  The other practical reason is that these elderly patients, average age 80 years, need their family members to help them get to the eye doctor on a monthly basis.

“If your vision is good to start, we’re not going to make you better. But if your vision is bad, sometimes we can make it better” said one eye doctor. [Medscape Aug 11, 2016]  The answer to this problem would be an oral treatment rather than injectable. [Nutrients Oct 2014]

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