Photodynamic Therapy

What is Photodynamic Therapy?

PDT is an outpatient procedure in which a special light activated drug (Visudyne) is injected into a vein in the arm or hand. This drug accumulates in abnormal blood vessels under the macula. A non-thermal laser is then directed at the abnormal blood vessels. This causes damage to the abnormal blood vessels and spares the normal retina and normal blood vessels.

Who benefits from PDT?

The most common condition treated with this medication is the wet form of age related macular degeneration, but it can also be used in patients with ocular histoplasmosis syndrome, myopic degeneration and abnormal blood vessel growth from other causes. Not all forms of abnormal blood vessels respond to this treatment.

How successful is PDT?

Photodynamic therapy may preserve and, in some cases, improve vision. Repeat treatments are usually needed for optimal results

What precautions are needed with PDT?

Patients who are treated with PDT will become temporarily sensitive to bright light (photosensitive). Care should be taken to avoid exposure of the skin and eyes to direct sunlight or bright indoor lights for five days. Bright lights include but are not limited to:

  • Direct sunlight
  • Tanning salons
  • Halogen lighting in homes and offices
  • Lighting used in a dental office or surgical operating room

Stay away from undraped windows or skylights and avoid outdoor chores. Sunscreens are not effective in protecting against photosensitive reactions.

What should I bring with me for my PDT treatment?

Patients receiving treatment should not drive themselves home. Allow approximately two hours for your appointment. On the trip home all exposed skin should be covered and you should bring the following items with you:

  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Long pants
  • Gloves
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Sunglasses

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