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    Early detection in AMD: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

    Studies show patients who are treated early retain better visual acuity long-term

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a highly prevalent ocular condition and the leading cause of irreversible blindness in ageing adults of industrialised nations. In some cases, the progression of the disease from dry AMD to choroidal neovascularisation (CNV) may occur rapidly, and by the time the patient notices symptoms or is back for a routine visit, irreversible damage may have taken place.

    Only as far back as eleven years ago, treatment options for AMD were severely limited, leaving patients with a poor long-term prognosis. Fortunately, with recent advances in drugs that inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway, patients with wet AMD have been given a second chance at sight.

    Ranibizumab, aflibercept and bevacizumab, the most common anti-VEGF drugs currently prescribed, have been shown to not only slow disease progression, but in some cases, also reverse damage and restore some vision. Given the availability of these powerful therapies, the clinician’s primary focus and responsibility is the early identification of AMD so that effective treatment can be administered on time, which is critical to preventing the disease from progressing to advanced stages.

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