New treatment for two main causes of blindness

A new treatment to help fight the two leading causes of blindness just got the FDA's stamp of approval. A doctor in Houston helped pave the way for it to get that approval.

Dr. Charles Wykoff with Retina Consultants of Texas was involved in research that led to the approval of Vabysmo. He believes it will be able to help a lot of people suffering from debilitating eye symptoms.


Millions of people who live with diabetes are at risk of losing their eyesight from a condition called diabetic macular edema or DME. Millions of others suffer from the age-related condition, wet macular degeneration.

"These are both common causes of irreversible blindness around the world, across the country, and certainly here in the Houston area. The good thing is we've had great treatments for both wet AMD and also DME for years. And what's nice is that we now have a new opportunity to treat these blinding diseases that appears to be very effective and also allow extended durability between injections for patients," states Dr. Wykoff.

That means instead of once-a-month eye injections that are available now, Genentech is producing this new injectable that can be spaced further apart, possibly every four months. 


Dr. Wykoff explains it was created to decrease inflammation and swelling in the retina to help preserve vision, targeting and inhibiting two disease-pathways in the eye.

"There's a tremendous amount of pre-clinical and now clinical data through multiple clinical trials showing that by inhibiting both of these pathways we can achieve what we think is to be optimal outcomes for patients. To be able to have a next generation treatment to optimize outcomes for these patients is exciting because hopefully patients can do even better visual acuity outcome and also have fewer treatments over time," explains Dr. Wykoff.

As with any condition, early detection is the key to treating eye disease.

"Ideally we catch people before they lose a lot of vision, so if you have diabetes or you have someone in your family that has diabetes, or a friend, please make sure you or your friend or family members are receiving at least an eye exam once a year. And then for people without diabetes, you know it's important over time to get your eyes checked, patients with macular degeneration, it's the same concept, the earlier you get diagnosed typically the better outcomes can be achieved," says Dr. Wykoff.

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The take-home message is early diagnosis, early treatment, and consistent follow-up. The new treatment should be available in the offices of many eye specialists this week.

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