Prioritizing Vision Even in a Pandemic: One Woman’s Story of Persistence


Posted: September 01, 2021 | Word Count: 941

Did you know that the leading cause of blindness and low vision in the United States is age-related eye diseases?[1] Approximately 2 million people are living with Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Wet AMD), a retinal disease that affects a person's central vision, and this number is expected to double by 2050.[2]

Teresa is one of the millions of people living with Wet AMD. She first noticed something odd about her vision when she was driving to meet friends to play cards. The streetlights looked like stars, and the headlights of oncoming traffic were blurred. She tried cleaning her glasses and using her windshield wipers, but it didn’t help it. Teresa was afraid. She had seen her mother and brother struggle with vision loss, and it felt like her worst nightmare may be coming true.

Although she felt scared and confused, she quickly made an appointment with her eye doctor. At the appointment, Teresa learned that blurriness is one of the symptoms that may indicate a retinal disease, like Wet AMD, along with wavy lines, blind spots or patches, and colors that look dull or washed out. She also learned how to monitor her vision using an Amsler Grid. Her doctor told her there were treatment options that were a part of a class of medicines called anti-VEGF agents administered by injection into the eye. During her treatment journey, her doctor prescribed EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection, one of these options. Teresa was nervous about receiving injections, but she couldn’t imagine the possibility of losing her vision and how that could affect her life.

“Sight is my biggest motivator,” she said. “What would you do without sight? It’s very important to me.”

EYLEA is a prescription medicine administered by injection into the eye. Patients should not use EYLEA if they have an infection in or around the eye, eye pain or redness, or known allergies to any of the ingredients in EYLEA, including aflibercept. Please see additional Important Safety Information below, including link to Full Prescribing Information.

For the past 10 years, Teresa has been receiving anti-VEGF injections recommended for her Wet AMD. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, she never missed an appointment. Her EYLEA treatment was one of the things that remained constant. As the country begins to reopen, she is excited to get back to the things she loves to do. Eye injections have become a part of her health routine.

Teresa knows how important it is for people to detect Wet AMD and get treated when diagnosed. She now encourages her friends to go to the eye doctor if they notice any changes in their vision. Teresa still thinks of her mother and brother’s experience with vision loss and, for her, it is a reminder of the importance of her treatments.

“I know a lot of people my age who talk about having low vision and I encourage all of them to go see their doctor and get screened. Be positive, life goes on. I always think, ‘It could be worse,’” says Teresa. “It is important to look forward and appreciate the positives in life.”

If you or someone you know may be experiencing signs of Wet AMD or other retinal diseases like Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) or Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), which could lead to severe vision loss, be sure to speak with your doctor about potential treatment options like EYLEA. EYLEA has several financial assistance programs available to help eligible patients with the cost of EYLEA. Check out www.eylea.us to learn more.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

  • EYLEA (aflibercept) Injection is a prescription medicine administered by injection into the eye. You should not use EYLEA if you have an infection in or around the eye, eye pain or redness, or known allergies to any of the ingredients in EYLEA, including aflibercept.
  • Injections into the eye with EYLEA can result in an infection in the eye and retinal detachment (separation of retina from back of the eye) can occur. Inflammation in the eye has been reported with the use of EYLEA.
  • In some patients, injections with EYLEA may cause a temporary increase in eye pressure within 1 hour of the injection. Sustained increases in eye pressure have been reported with repeated injections, and your doctor may monitor this after each injection.
  • There is a potential but rare risk of serious and sometimes fatal side effects, related to blood clots, leading to heart attack or stroke in patients receiving EYLEA.
  • The most common side effects reported in patients receiving EYLEA were increased redness in the eye, eye pain, cataract, vitreous (gel-like substance) detachment, vitreous floaters, moving spots in the field of vision, and increased pressure in the eye.
  • You may experience temporary visual changes after an EYLEA injection and associated eye exams; do not drive or use machinery until your vision recovers sufficiently.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you think you might be experiencing any side effects, including eye pain or redness, light sensitivity, or blurring of vision, after an injection.
  • For additional safety information, please talk to your doctor and see the full Prescribing Information for EYLEA.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

INDICATIONS

EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection 2 mg (0.05 mL) is a prescription medicine approved for the treatment of patients with Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Macular Edema following Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO), Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR).

Please click for full Prescribing Information.


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/index.html

[2] https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/resources-for-health-educators/eye-health-data-and-statistics/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd-data-and-statistics

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