Improving lives and saving dollars with anti-VEGF

Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy's impact on patient outcomes and the bottom line

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.  

The path to anti-VEGF
Before the development of anti-VEGF therapy, the options for effectively halting vision loss in patients with specific eye conditions, like diabetic retinopathy, were severely limited. Everything changed in 1983 with the discovery of the vascular permeability factor.
Anti-VEGF impact for clinicians and patients
Blindness is often regarded as one of the most feared health issues. Prior to the advent of anti-VEGF therapy, individuals diagnosed with macular degeneration had little hope for improvement in vision loss due to the limitations of existing treatments.
Anti-VEGF: The return on investing healthcare dollars
The return on investment from federal funding of anti-VEGF research and development is invaluable. In addition to a reduction in morbidity rates associated with injuries, such as falls, the prevention of vision loss has become achievable, resulting in a significant enhancement in quality of life.


Additional resources

Anti-VEGF Timeline

From Conception to Delivery

Anti-VEGF Special Issue

a joint initiative of ARVO's Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) and Translational Vision Science & Technology (TVSTjournals

Anti-VEGF Toolkit

Advocate for eye and vision research funding


Letter to Congress

Letter to the U.S. Senate and House

Press release

Breakthrough vision therapy celebrated for improving eyesight in common blinding eye diseases


FDA Approves New Dose of Existing Drug to Treat Macular Degeneration. BrightFocus Foundation.

VEGF: From Discovery to Therapy: The Champalimaud Award Lecture. Joan W. Miller; Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2016;5(2):9. 

Advocate for Vision Research Funding Today

ARVO and the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) are advocating for $1 billion for the National Eye Institute. 

Take action by filling out a templated letter to your members of Congress. Enter your name and contact information, then click send. 

Eye conditions treated by anti-VEGF

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Diabetic retinopathy (DR)
Central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO)
Macular edema
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)