New Implant Streamlines Treatment for Those with Wet AMD
At Austin Retina Associates, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of clinical research and are thrilled to offer our patients the opportunity to receive novel procedures and therapies through enrollment in clinical research studies.
We recently completed a clinical trial for a new FDA-approved device that aids in the treatment of neurovascular (or wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) called SUSVIMO.
SUSVIMO slowly but efficiently delivers continuous medication via a tiny refillable implant (about the size of a grain of rice!) in the eye over a six-month period. It can replace monthly eye injections of intravitreal anti-VEGF medication.
Retina specialist Dr. Robert Wong has been working with AMD patients on clinical trials of SUSVIMO, which will be available for widespread use in the coming months, and the results have been extremely positive so far. One patient who is thrilled with his improved vision because of the SUSVIMO implant is 76-year-old William Chicky, a Central Texan and proud United States veteran.
“There is definitely hope if you can catch it at the early early stages and are able to try this,” says Mr. Chicky.
“The nice thing is that this implant can deliver the same medication over a period of up to six months without being needed to refill,” according to Dr. Wong. “If you can reduce the number of injections and the number of visits, it can reduce the burden on the patient.”
You can watch Mr. Chicky share his personal experience with SUSVIMO on CBS Austin.
SUSVIMO Frequently Asked Questions
What is SUSVIMO?
SUSVIMO is a drug delivery system made up of a device (implanted into the eye) that delivers refillable medication for an extended period of time directly into your eye.
What is the main benefit of SUSVIMO?
It allows for less frequent injections for wet AMD. Following the initial placement, many patients receive the same benefit by refilling the device every six months as they did with the individual monthly injections.
I have AMD and have been getting injections, am I a candidate for SUSVIMO?
In order to qualify for SUSVIMO, you need to have an official diagnosis of wet AMD and have received at least two prior intravitreal anti-VEGF injections showing a positive response.
Is SUSVIMO administered in the office?
The initial procedure to receive the implant is performed on an outpatient basis in a surgery center. The subsequent procedures to refill the implant with medication are conveniently done in the office approximately every six months.
Are there any risks associated with SUSVIMO?
The most frequently observed adverse effects include temporary eye redness, discomfort, and inflammation that are typical of any eye surgery and intravitreal injections. The rate of infection (endophthalmitis) seems to be higher with SUSVIMO compared to injections alone, but you and your physician can discuss both the pros and cons of this innovative treatment if you are interested.
Does Insurance cover SUSVIMO?
Certain Medicare plans are covering this treatment for those who qualify and have already had a positive response to at least two prior intravitreal anti-VEGF injections. Our team of dedicated billing specialists will work closely with patients to ensure they receive the most favorable coverage possible.
About Age-Related Macular Degeneration
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 55 years of age in the United States.
Wet AMD only affects about ten percent of those living with AMD, but it presents the most serious potential for vision loss if not caught early. It occurs when new blood vessels form a tissue layer under the retina which may leak or bleed, leading to the term ‘wet.’
There are numerous treatments available for these abnormally growing and leaking blood vessels including: intravitreal injections, thermal laser, photodynamic therapy (PDT) or a combination of these treatments.
For more information on wet AMD treatment or SUSVIMO, request an appointment online or call 800-252-8259.