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What is Lucentis?
Lucentis (also called ranibizumab) is an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drug. Which tackles the raised levels of VEGF in the eyes. Lucentis was approved by the UK National Institute of clinical excellence (NICE) in 2008 and its use is now widespread throughout the UK.
What does the treatment involve?
The treatment is given as a set of injection into the eye. Typically, three treatments may be given initially at monthly intervals. After this you would be seen at every month and your vision assessed as well as the special scan of your eye (OCT scan) repeated to confirm that the treatment is working.
Treatment is usually continued until no further improvement is seen but monitoring needs to continue monthly so that any recurrence of disease is picked up early and more treatment given.
How many injections will I have?
On average patients can expect to require about 6-7 injections in the first year and 5-6 in subsequent years. There is variability though and some need an injection virtually every month and others may only need three injections and rarely need them again after that.
How soon will I see an improvement?
The results of treatment are very good. Over 90% of patients can expect to stabilize their vision. 30-40% of patients can get quite a significant improvement. To achieve these results it is important that monthly review is maintained consistently and treatment guided by the tests done at these visits.
Your doctor may in some cases be able to extend your review interval depending on the approach which is thought to be best for your eye. This will be discussed with you at follow-up appointments.
Are there any risks?
The procedure itself is quick and painless but is done with the greatest of care in a special clean room. There are very small risks associated with treatment.
- The potential risks include injection related risks and drug related risks. Time is required to prepare the eye with anesthetic and antiseptic to minimize pain and reduce risk of infection.
- It is common after the procedure to have varying degrees of redness and irritation. This usually settles down within a few days.
Serious potential risks include:
Eye infection, bleeding within the eyeand retinal detachment are reported by 1% of patients.