Recent advances in the management of age-related macular degeneration

Optom Vis Sci. 2002 Apr;79(4):218-24. doi: 10.1097/00006324-200204000-00008.


Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can cause rapid and severe central vision loss in many older people. Until recently, the only treatment proven beneficial was thermal laser photocoagulation, which was applicable to only a small subset of patients. Furthermore, the thermal laser damaged the retina overlying the CNV, which is especially problematic for lesions involving the foveal center. Photodynamic therapy is a new treatment consisting of intravenous infusion of a drug that is then activated by a low-energy laser, causing damage to CNV. Photodynamic therapy with verteporfin (Visudyne, Novartis AG) has been shown to reduce the risk of moderate and severe vision loss in patients with predominantly classic subfoveal CNV secondary to AMD. With the advent of verteporfin therapy, eye care providers will play an increasingly important role in managing patients with AMD, especially in the early detection and rapid referral of appropriate cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Macular Degeneration / therapy*
  • Ophthalmology / trends*
  • Photochemotherapy
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Porphyrins / therapeutic use
  • Verteporfin


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Porphyrins
  • Verteporfin