How long will AMD treatment results last?
The initial stage of the treatment plan will be to try and stabilise the disease and to stabilise or improve your vision. Typically, that will involve three Eylea, Lucentis or Avastin injections spaced a month apart to rapidly reduce damage to the retina from blood vessel leak due to wet AMD.
The success of treatment depends on how the wet AMD responds to treatment and indeed how severe the condition is at the start. We achieve the best long-term treatment results when we start treatment early before there has been significant damage to the light detecting retinal cells (photoreceptors) due to wet AMD.
Early treatment can cause better outcomes in the short and long term. At the end of this initial course of treatment, after three or four months we’ll have some idea of how successful the treatment has been in the initial stages, and potentially we will know more about the requirement for more treatment.
One thing eye doctors and AMD treatment specialists have learned over the past few years is that regular injection treatment is better at achieving improved vision than ad hoc injections.
Stabilising the vision after the initial wet AMD treatment
Building on the initial course of treatment after the first few months of injections, we should see a stabilisation or improvement in your vision. After this initial phase of treatment, I will attempt to space out the injections and make the injections less frequent. This sequence comes from the results of your optical coherence tomography or OCT scans.
These scans provide detailed, 3D, cross-sectional scans of the retina and show us what is happening within the retina. I can use these scans to see if the blood vessel leak in wet AMD is under control and whether it is safe to start spacing out injections.
As things stabilise, I will aim to space out the injections up to every 3-4 months if possible. This timeline will be with the aim of making sure the benefit of the injections lasts over several years. In the past, eye doctors were too eager to stop treatment after several months of injections, but this led to patients’ vision deteriorating again as the blood vessel leak.
The general approach I take is to give injections regularly but to increase the interval between treatments to make sure we do our best to sustain treatment benefits in the long-term.
Treatment plans are a partnership between you and me, and it’s important we discuss the aims of treatment at each stage and tailor treatment plans and injections to your circumstances. By doing this, I can be real with you regarding what we can expect concerning treatment goals in the long-term and I can keep you updated on how your condition is responding to treatment.