Photodynamic therapy with verteporfin: a new treatment in ophthalmology

Semin Ophthalmol. 2001 Dec;16(4):201-6. doi: 10.1076/soph.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) with verteporfin is a new treatment modality in ophthalmology that has previously shown its effectiveness in treatment of a variety of neoplastic pathologies. In this therapeutic approach, the photosensitizer verteporfin is activated by non-thermal laser light to obtain closure of neovascular structures. Preclinical and clinical studies have indicated that PDT is a safe, selective, and effective treatment for choroidal neovascularization in age-related macular degeneration. No significant damage to the neurosensory retina was found, which explains why PDT does not cause loss of visual acuity and may be used in a larger population than laser photocoagulation. This review summarizes the mechanisms of action of PDT, and the results of preclinical and clinical studies in ophthalmology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Choroidal Neovascularization / drug therapy*
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy*
  • Ophthalmology
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Porphyrins / therapeutic use*
  • Verteporfin


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Porphyrins
  • Verteporfin