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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).

What is Eylea?

Eylea is the brand name of the anti-VEGF drug aflibercept. It is a clear solution that is colorless to light yellow. It comes packaged in a 2mg/0.05 mL single-dose vial or pre-filled syringe for intravitreal injection.4

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)

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)

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.

Dosing information

The recommended dosing schedule is one dose injected into the eye every 4 weeks for 3 months, and then after those first 3 months, once every 2 months.4 After those initial 3 months, monthly injections of Eylea were not shown to be more effective than injections every 2 months.4 When compared to monthly Lucentis, Eylea had the same treatment results.5 Despite these recommendations, your eye doctor may choose to change your treatment regimen depending on treatment response; talk with your doctor about what dosing regimen might be best for you.

Written by Jaime R. Herndon | Reviewed September 2019
  1. National Institutes of Health: National Eye Institute. Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration. (2015). Accessed November 12, 2018.
  2. Dunaief J. Myopic Macular Degeneration. BrightFocus Foundation website. 2018. Accessed February 4, 2019.
  3. American Macular Degeneration Foundation. Macular Degeneration Treatments. n.d. Accessed November 12, 2018.
  4. Eylea prescribing information. (2018). Accessed November 12, 2018.
  5. Heier JS, Brown DM, Chong V, Korobelnik JF, Kaiser PK, Nguyen QD, et al. Intravitreal aflibercept (VEGF trap-eye) in wet age-related macular degeneration. Ophthalmology. 2012; 119(2): 2537-48. Doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.09.006. Accessed November 12, 2018.