Best Treatments for Macular Edema Vision Loss
Macular edema is a diabetes-related complication in which leaky blood vessels lead to swelling in the eye’s vision center, causing blurriness and potential vision loss. Lasers were the only treatment in the past, but now ophthalmologists can also inject into the eye a drug that blocks the leakage. Researchers compared the three available shots—aflibercept (Eyelea), bevacizumab (Avastin, which isn’t indicated for macular edema but is sometimes prescribed off label), and ranibizumab (Lucentis)—in 660 patients. The three injections worked equally well when vision loss was mild (20/40 or better). But for people with more severe eye damage (20/50 or worse), Eyelea worked best. The findings are important because of the drugs’ cost per injection: $1,950 for Eyelea and $1,200 for Lucentis versus just $50 for Avastin. A treatment regimen requires about nine injections over several months.
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine, published online Feb. 18, 2015