Photodynamic Laser Treatment for Age Related Macular Degeneration
You and your doctor have decided that a treatment using the drug Visudyne and a laser might help your eye. The medication is given by injection into a vein. This is followed by a brief laser treatment. Visudyne therapy is approved to help slow the loss of vision.
Visudyne is a light-activated, or photodynamic, drug. This is injected into a vein then travels to the abnormal blood vessels in your eye. It is then activated by a low energy laser. A reaction closes the abnormal vessels by drying them up.
Multiple courses of therapy are often needed. The abnormal blood vessels may not be fully closed off and leakage may recur.
People with a known sensitivity to this drug or who have porphyria should not receive this medication. Liver damage is possible. Visudyne is metabolized through the liver. If you have certain conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely receive this medication. Before receiving this medication, tell your doctor if you have liver or gall bladder disease or if you are receiving radiation treatment.
The appointment will take 1 - 1 1/2 hours. We will check your vision and dilate your pupil. Your height and weight will be checked to determine how much of the drug needs to be given to you. You may need to have a fluorescein angiography test done to check the blood flow in your retina.
An IV will be started and the Visudyne will be given over a period of 10 minutes. Following a short wait, the doctor will do the laser treatment lasting 83 seconds. There is no pain other than the needle prick to start your IV.
Before your visit, eat a meal, take your medicines and drink plenty of fluids.
Bring these to your appointment:
(and wear for 5 days if exposed to direct sunlight or bright indoor lights)
Dark sunglasses A tight-weave, light colored long sleeved shirt
Wide brimmed hat Socks and Shoes
Gloves Long Pants
You may want to have someone drive you home after your procedure but it is not required. Visudyne may cause side effects that interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery. Be careful if you do drive or do anything that requires you to be able to see clearly.
Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or bright indoor lights for 5 days as your eyes and skin will be sensitive to such light.
Dental exams Surgical Operating Rooms
Tanning beds Pulse oximeters
Direct sunlight through windows
Bright indoor lighting such as halogen or fluorescent
You will not be harmed by ambient indoor lighting such as indirect sunlight through a window or low wattage incandescent lighting.
We will put a wristband on you to remind you to stay out of direct sunlight.
You should not stay in the dark while you are indoors as this can actually cause the drug to stay active in your body longer. Exposing your skin to ambient indoor light will help inactivate the drug in the skin.
If possible, wait until sundown to do outdoor activities. If you must go outdoors in daylight during the first 5 days after treatment, protect all parts of your skin and eyes by wearing protective clothing and dark sunglasses.
UV sunscreens are not effective in protecting against photosensitivity reactions.
The following occur in 10-30% of patients...
Injection site reactions: such as pain, swelling, inflammation, rashes, itching or bruising.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain or swelling at the IV site when the medicine is injected. If Visudyne does leak outside your blood vessel, there is no risk of severe tissue damage but the area must be thoroughly protected from direct light until the swelling and discoloration have faded in order to prevent a local burn. Cold compresses may be applied to the injection site.
Visual disturbances: such as blurred or decreased vision, flashes of light and visual field defects.
The following occur in 1-10% of patients...
• Dry eyes
• Itching of eyes or eyelids
• Back pain during infusion which goes away as soon as infusion is completed
• Headache or Joint pain
• Photosensitivity reactions such as sunburn following exposure to direct
• Feeling faint, dizzy, nauseous, sweating or flushed feeling during infusion
• Mild itching or skin rash
• There is less than a 1% incidence of sudden, severe vision loss defined as
loss of more than 4 lines of vision in a 1 week period.
Additional Patient Education:
• This is a “cold” laser therapy.
• It can be done every 3 months.
• There is no maximum number of treatments that can be done.
• The treatment takes time to work (2-3 weeks).
• Your vision could actually decrease the first week.
• After several weeks, your vision might get better...or not.
• Within 2-3 months, you will have another eye exam with F.A.
• Pictures will be taken of your eyes to show if any leakage is still present.
University Station Eye Clinic, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
When the clinic is closed, your call will be forwarded to the hospital paging operator. Ask for the “Eye Resident on Call”. Give the operator your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942 and ask to be transferred to the above number.
Please call if you have any questions or concerns.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 07/31/2013
Copyright © 07/31/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5504
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