Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). It involves the injection of a light-sensitive medicine into the bloodstream that then collects in the abnormal blood vessels under the macula. Laser light is then shone into the eye to activate the medicine so it creates blood clots that block the abnormal blood vessels.

The procedure maintains current vision, stops the progression of disease, and seals off the abnormal blood vessels that are prone to bleeding (which affects vision). Some patients may feel their vision is better after the procedure and in others it simply keeps their vision from worsening.

  1. Your pupil(s) will be dilated with eye drops before the procedure.
  2. You will be weighed to determine how much medication you should receive.
  3. You will be given verteporfin, a light-sensitive medication, intravenously over a period of approximately 10 minutes. This medication will travel through your bloodstream to the blood vessels of your macula. It will attach to the cells in the walls of the abnormal blood vessels.
  4. Laser light will then be shone into the eye to activate the medication and because no heat is used, healthy tissue will not be affected. (The doctor will have calculated the appropriate amount of medication and laser to be used to seal off the blood vessels).
  5. After the procedure your current vision should be maintained. In some patients with milder cases of age-related macular degeneration, vision may be restored to near normal. This procedure is considered fairly safe.
  1. Skin reaction where the medication is administered.
  2. Blurry or abnormal vision.
  3. Severe glaucoma.
  4. Approximately 3% (Borgia F, et. al. 2018, Schnurrbusch UE, et al. 2005) of patients experience back pain while the medication is administered. This usually lasts a short time and stops as soon as all medication has been injected.
  5. Approximately 20% (Borgia F, et. al. 2018, Schnurrbusch UE, et al. 2005) of patients experience some visual discomfort, usually mild to moderate.
** This procedure must be repeated several times to prevent permanent vision loss. If the treatment doesn’t work, vision will worsen and will ultimately affect quality of life.
  1. Photocoagulation laser.
  2. Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) injection.
  3. Vitrectomy.

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