Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates

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Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates

Laser Vision Correction, Dry Eye Treatment, Cataract Surgery,
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New AMD treatment in Wellesley

New Medication Offers Hope for Advanced Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration

In the United States alone, an estimated 20 million people have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and almost 1.5 million have advanced AMD with significant central vision loss. February is AMD awareness month, and our award-winning ophthalmologist, Ernest W. Kornmehl, MD, FACS, highlights the first and only medication approved to treat late-stage dry AMD (geographic atrophy), Syfovre™.

What Is Geographic Atrophy?

Macular degeneration has two forms: wet and dry. Dry AMD progresses slowly, while wet AMD advances to vision loss suddenly and often without warning. Advanced AMD causes geographic atrophy, which means the development of atrophic lesions (or wasting away of cells) that start in the outer retina and expand to cover the macula at the center of the retina, leading to irreversible vision loss. Geographic atrophy makes recognizing faces, reading, and driving difficult and significantly impacts the patient’s quality of life and independence. Geographic atrophy typically develops in both eyes with a loss of visual acuity or sharpness and blind spots in the central vision.

Geographic atrophy is progressive and causes permanent damage because the lesions destroy retinal cells. Patients often develop atrophic lesions just two and a half years after an AMD diagnosis.

Until 2023, there were no treatments or medications for geographic atrophy caused by late-stage AMD. Syfovre™ was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) last year, giving patients with advanced AMD hope for the first time.

What Is Syfovre™?

Syfovre™, whose active ingredient is Pegcetacoplan, is a monthly or every-other-month prescription eye injection clinically shown to slow the growth of atrophic lesions in patients with late-stage AMD. Created by Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Syfovre™ is the first and only FDA-approved treatment for geographic atrophy and can improve the lives of patients with vision loss.

This prescription eye injection is a leap forward in retinal ophthalmology because no therapies have been approved until now. Syfovre™ gives patients a safe and effective way to treat this devastating disease, and its effect increases over time. The medication was approved after two Phase 3 clinical trials, OAKS and DERBY, which studied patients getting Syfovre™ for 24 months.

The OAKS study for Syfovre™ included 637 patients, and DERBY included 621 patients for randomized, double-masked, sham-controlled studies at multiple centers to remove bias and ensure accurate data points. All patients had geographic atrophy caused by AMD and received a monthly or every-other-month eye injection to treat geographic atrophy lesions. OAKS and DERBY results showed Syfovre™ decreased lesion growth compared to the sham or placebo treatment that improved over time, with the greatest improvements between 18 and 24 months. Patients experienced a reduction in lesion growth of up to 36%.

Previous treatments for AMD aimed to slow the progression with supplements or help patients adjust to visual rehabilitation, including a miniature telescope implanted in the eye to magnify the remaining central vision and amplify focus in areas of the retina that still worked. But none of these methods could address the severe impact of geographic atrophy until Syfovre™.

If you’re experiencing vision changes or it’s time for your annual eye exam, contact Kornmehl Laser Eye Associates in Boston and Wellesley, Massachusetts. Call (877) 870-2010 to schedule your appointment.