Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a protein that creates new blood vessels. Occasionally, too much VEGF can be produced leading to the growth of abnormal blood vessels. These blood vessels cause damage to the eye, leading to vision impairment or blindness. Anti-VEGF treatment blocks VEGF, thus slowing or stopping the damage. The medicine slows vision loss and can improve vision. Anti-VEGF therapies are used to treat:
- Diabetic retinopathy (DR): an eye disease caused by complications of diabetes
- Macular edema: swelling of the retina
- Retinal vein occlusion (RVO): a vascular disorder of the retina where the veins that transport blood away from the retina are obstructed
- Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD): a type of macular degeneration where abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula.
The implementation of anti-VEGF treatment has not only prevented vision loss but also drastically enhanced the quality of life for numerous individuals. This achievement owes its existence to the invaluable contributions of federal funding and the collaborative endeavors between scientists and biotechnology companies.