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What is Avastin?

Avastin is the brand name of the anti-VEGF drug bevacizumab, which is injected into the eye to treat patients with certain eye conditions by slowing down vision loss.

How does Avastin work?

Avastin blocks the action of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is a protein produced by your body to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. When injected into the eye, Avastininhibits the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the back of the eye which may leak resulting in swelling that can harm your vision.

Indications for Avastin

Avastin can be used to treat the following eye conditions:

  • Diabetic macular oedema
  • Wet age-related macular degeneration
  • Macular oedema due to retinal vein occlusion
  • Myopic choroidal neovascularisation

Preparation for Avastin Treatment

You must inform your doctor about:

  • Medications or vitamins you are currently taking as certain medications may interact with
  • Avastin and cause eye problems
  • Allergies to medications
  • Health conditions such as uncontrolled hypertension or eye infections

Avastin Treatment Procedure

The Avastin injection procedure involves the following steps:

  • You will be seated in a comfortable semi-reclined position in a chair.
  • Your eye will be cleaned to prevent infection.
  • Your face and the area around the eye will be draped to maintain sterile conditions.
  • Pain-relieving eye drops will be administered to numb the eye.
  • A device may be placed to keep your eyelids open.
  • The Avastin injection will be administered into the white portion of your eyeball, also known as the sclera. The injection takes 15-20 seconds and most patients do not feel any pain during the procedure.
  • Your eyesight will be assessed post-injection and antibiotic drops may be given, after which the drapes are removed.

Post-Operative Care after AvastinTreatment

  • You may be provided with antibiotic eye drops that you should use for 3-4 days to prevent infection.
  • Avoid swimming or getting water into your eyes for a couple of days after the injection.
  • There may be a slight discomfort, redness, and ‘floaters’ in the eye which will go away in a few days.
  • Most patients require a course of 3 Avastin injections administered at 4-week intervals to obtain maximum treatment benefit.

Risks of Avastin Injections

Avastin injections are very safe; however, there is a minimal risk of complications that include:

  • Eye infection
  • Eye pain
  • Increased eye pressure
  • Bleeding
  • Cataract formation
  • Detachment of the retina

Benefits of Avastin Treatment

Timely treatment with Avastin can improve central detailed vision making it easier for patients with certain eye conditions to read, watch TV, and recognise faces.

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Bristol, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea eye hospital