Guidance for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration

Authors


Ursula M Schmidt-Erfurth
Medical University of Vienna
Department of Ophthalmology
Waehringer Guertel 18–20
A-1090 Vienna
Austria
Tel.: +43 140400 7931 Fax: +43 140400 7932 Email: Ursula.schmidt-erfurth@meduniwien.ac.at

Abstract.

Neovascular age-related macular degeneration is becoming an increasing socio-medical problem as the proportion of the aged population is continuously increasing. However, new insights in the pathogenesis of the disease offer the opportunity to develop targeted therapies that attack the disease process more successfully than ever. This review article will focus on summarizing the actual options in the management of neovascular age-related macular degeneration and provide a short overview about recent therapeutic options in clinical and preclinical evaluation. The recent development of anti-VEGF substances for use in clinical routine has markedly improved the prognosis of patients with neovascular AMD. Intravitreal treatment with substances targeting all isotypes of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), for the first time in the history of AMD treatments, results in a significant increase in visual acuity in patients with neovascular AMD. Overall, antiangiogenic approaches provide vision maintenance in over 90% and substantial improvement in 25–40% of patients. The combination with occlusive therapies like photodynamic therapy (PDT) potentially offers a reduction of re-treatment frequency and long-term maintenance of the treatment benefit. Further developments interacting with various steps in the angiogenic cascade are under clinical or preclinical evaluation and may soon become available. Nevertheless, the growing number of novel therapeutic options will have to provide proof of concept in randomized controlled clinical trials, a major challenge in view of the rapidly evolving field. For those therapies, which are already in clinical use, reasonable diagnostic tools for follow-up need to be developed, as the burden of continuous clinical monitoring of all patients and all indications is significant for patients and doctors. Ultimately, economic issues will be the limiting factor for the clinical availability of different treatment options.

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