How Do Ophthalmic VEGF Inhibitors Work?

What are ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors and how do they work?

Ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors are medications that suppress the growth of abnormal new blood vessels (neovascularization) in the retina, and their permeability. Abnormal neovascularization can cause leakage of blood and fluids into the retina, scar the macula and affect vision.

Retina is the innermost layer of light sensitive tissue on the inside of the eyeball, which enables vision by sending signals through the optic nerve to the brain. Retina’s central part is the macula, which has a high concentration of photoreceptor cells and is responsible for central and color vision and fine details of images.

Ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors work by inhibiting the activity of a protein known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) that stimulates new blood vessel growth. Ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors are fragments of protein molecules that bind to VEGF and block their activity.

How are ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors used?

Ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors are solutions administered as intravitreous injections. Vitreous is a clear gel-like substance that fills the eyeball space between the lens and the retina. Ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors are used to treat neovascularization in the retina, macula, fovea (a tiny pit in the center of the macula) and choroid, the layer over the retina.

Eye conditions treated with ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors may include:

  • Age-related neovascular (wet) macular degeneration
  • Macular edema
  • Diabetic macular edema
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Myopic choroidal neovascularization

What are side effects of ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors?

Side effects of ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors may include the following:

Ocular side effects

  • Conjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding in the conjunctiva, the clear membrane over the whites of the eye and inner eyelid surfaces)
  • Eye pain
  • Vitreous floaters
  • Vitreous opacities
  • Cataract
  • Increase in intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye)
  • Anterior chamber inflammation (inflammation of uvea, iris and eye’s ciliary muscle, also known as anterior uveitis)
  • Eye discharge and irritation
  • Conjunctival hyperemia (dilation of blood vessels in the conjunctiva)
  • Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva)
  • Corneal erosion
  • Corneal edema
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Corneal deposits
  • Punctate keratitis (inflammation of the cornea in a pin-point pattern)
  • Retinal pigment epithelium detachment (separation of retina’s pigmented epithelial layer from the nerve tissue layer)
  • Retinal pigment epithelium tear
  • Injection site pain
  • Foreign body sensation or abnormal sensation
  • Increased tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Reduced vision acuity
  • Visual disturbances
  • Injection site hemorrhage
  • Eyelid edema
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid)
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Conjunctival edema
  • Mydriasis (pupil dilation)
  • Photopsia (light flashes in the field of vision
  • Periorbital hematoma (black eye)
  • Endophthalmitis (inflammation of the intraocular cavities)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Retinal hemorrhage
  • Retinal tear
  • Retinal artery block
  • Retinal vasculitis (inflammation of retinal blood vessels)
  • Retinal degeneration
  • Retinal edema
  • Vitreous detachment
  • Vitreous hemorrhage
  • Meibomianitis (inflammation of oil-secreting Meibomian glands in the eyelids)
  • Vision loss
  • Posterior capsule opacification (opacity of the posterior side of the clear membrane that encapsulates the lens)

Systemic side effects

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are names of some ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors?

Generic and brand names of some ophthalmic VEGF inhibitors include:

  • Aflibercept intravitreal (Eylea)
  • Brolucizumab-dbll intravitreal (Beovu)
  • Pegaptanib sodium (Macugen)
  • Ranibizumab (Lucentis)
  • Abicipar pegol (pending FDA approval)

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors