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Photodynamic therapy (PDT) 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 for macular degeneration 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 photodynamic therapy, 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. PDT light therapy 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. Your doctor will talk to you about photodynamic therapy side effects, recovery, and other details.