Clinical Services: Treatment

Visudyne Therapy

Visudyne therapy is used to treat a condition where abnormal blood vessels grow in the back of the eye causing central vision loss.  The medical name for this condition is subfoveal choroidal neovascularisation.

It is a special type of treatment known as photodynamic therapy (or PDT), which uses a combination of a light-activated drug (Visudyne) and a low-energy laser.  The laser activates the drug in a specific area of the eye, and this produces a reaction which seals off abnormal bleeding blood vessels.  This is beneficial in slowing the progression of the disease.

Visudyne therapy is a clinic procedure that takes about 20 minutes.  It involves inserting a needle into a vein, usually in the arm or back of the hand, in order to inject the Visudyne.  The drug is absorbed by the abnormal blood vessels in the retina. Shortly after, the low-energy laser is shone onto the retina for 83 seconds.  This will cause the drug to be activated and will produce a reaction that destroys the abnormal vessels. 

With this procedure, patients are advised to avoid exposure to direct sunlight or bright artificial light for 2 days, as the Visudyne could be activated while in the skin resulting in a severe sunburn.  Other adverse reactions are generally rare.