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What is Eylea® (aflibercept)?

There are two kinds of age-related macular degeneration (AMD): dry AMD, in which light-sensitive photoreceptors and supporting retinal pigment cells in the macula break down; and wet AMD, in which abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina that can leak or bleed, causing damage.1 This abnormal blood vessel growth can also be seen in myopic macular degeneration (MMD).2 Though AMD is not curable, there are treatments to help slow progression of the disease and preserve existing vision.

What is anti-VEGF therapy?

One of these treatments involves eye injections with medications known as anti-VEGF drugs. Anti-VEGF drugs bind or trap VEGF, which is a protein that stimulates the growth of blood vessels. When VEGF is produced in the eyes, it not only promotes the growth of new blood vessels, but these vessels tend to be abnormally weak and prone to leakage, which can cause damage to the retina and loss of vision.3 There are several anti-VEGF drugs – one of these is called Eylea® (generic name aflibercept).

How does Eylea work?

Eylea is given as an intravitreal injection, or injection into the eye. This is done in your doctor’s office. The drug acts as a decoy receptor for VEGF in order to trap it and prevent it from promoting abnormal blood vessel growth. This helps to preserve your existing vision and slow the progression of wet AMD.

What are possible side effects of Eylea?

Any medication or treatment procedure has the possibility of side effects, and Eylea is no different. Before you start treatment with Eylea, talk with your doctor about the possible side effects and what you can expect during treatment. Everyone is different; some people might have one or more side effect, while others might not experience any. Tell your eye doctor about any medications or supplements you are taking, or if you are pregnant, thinking about trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Common side effects

Common side effects can include:

  • Eye pain or irritation
  • Eye redness
  • Floaters (temporary)
  • Mild blurred vision (for a day or two)
  • Cataracts

Serious complications

More serious complications may include:

  • Retinal detachment
  • Infection
  • Vitreous hemorrhage (bleeding inside the eye)
  • Increased intraocular pressure
  • Blood clots or stroke
  • Hypersensitivity (inflammatory reaction)

These are not all the possible side effects of Eylea. Patients should talk to their doctor about what to expect with treatment with Eylea. If you experience anything out of the ordinary after an injection of Eylea, call your doctor immediately.

Things to know about Eylea

Eylea will not cure AMD, but it may help to slow down the progression of wet AMD and help preserve your existing vision. If you and your doctor are discussing anti-VEGF medication, Eylea is one of several treatment options from which to choose.

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Written by Jaime R. Herndon | Reviewed April 2021