Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an in-office treatment proven to be beneficial for wet macular degeneration and it has been used successfully to treat other retinal conditions as well. It involves injecting a light-activated drug called Visudyne into the bloodstream that travels to the abnormal vessels causing damage to the vision. The drug is then activated by a painless low-energy laser to close the abnormal vessels while at the same time minimizing damage to healthy retina tissue. After treatment in the office is complete, patients must avoid direct sunlight or bright indoor light for five days to avoid photosensitivity reactions that can occur with Visudyne. Patients who must go outdoors must protect all parts of their skin and eyes by wearing protective clothing, hats, and dark sunglasses. Ultraviolet sunscreens are not effective in protecting against photosensitivity reactions. Multiple courses of PDT are often necessary because the abnormal blood vessels frequently return. PDT treatment is commonly used in combination with other medical and laser therapies, including medications injected in and around the eye. Your doctor will decide with you which treatment regimen is best for your eyes.
To view or download a guide for patients receiving PDT, click here.