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Photodynamic therapy is a treatment method used to address the complications of “wet” macular degeneration. With “wet” macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels leak beneath the retina in a structure in the eye called the choroidal neovascular membrane, or CNVM.
Photodynamic therapy is a two-step procedure that can be performed in the doctor’s office. First, a light-activated drug, Visudyne™, is injected intravenously into the patient’s arm. To activate the drug, a non-thermal laser light is then shined into the eye of the patient to activate the drug. The drug absorbs the energy and slows or seals the leaking blood vessels.
Following treatment, patients should avoid direct exposure to sunlight or bright lights for several days. Patients most likely to benefit from treatment will have newly onset macular degeneration with no scarring. Treatment may need to be repeated for those blood vessels that may reopen. Vision stabilization is maximized with a series of treatments over one to two years.