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Wet Macular Degeneration Treatment May Increase Intraocular Pressure

October 26, 2009

Adapted from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Some patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) develop elevated pressure within the eye following treatment with anti-VEGF medications Lucentis and/or Avastin, reports a Yale University School of Medicine study led by Ron A. Adelman, M.D., MPH. Both of these anti-VEGFs control the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye's retina and are very effective against wet AMD, which can result in vision loss or blindness if untreated. But high eye pressure is a key factor in glaucoma, also a potentially blinding disease. Of 116 Yale study patients treated for wet AMD with either or both medications from 2006 to 2008, 3.45 percent (four patients) developed a significant and persistent rise in eye pressure.

"To our knowledge, ours is the first study to document persistent ocular hypertension (OHT) following intravitreal [Avastin] injections in patients with no personal or family history of glaucoma or ocular hypertension, Dr. Adelman said. "We found that sustained, high [eye pressure] may occur after only one anti-VEGF injection, but more typically after multiple injections. Patients' ocular hypertension may continue over several AMD treatments and may require [eye pressure] lowering therapy," he added.

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