Anti-VEGF Treatment, Anxiety & Depression

Article Written and Posted by Brulimar - 2nd May 2017

A recent study has highlighted how patients undergoing anti-VEGF treatment have suffered with mental illnesses.

Anti-VEGF treatments are used to treat a number of eye conditions that are known to cause new blood vessel growth and/ or swelling in the eye, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic maculopathy, and macular oedema. As wholesale optical eyewear manufacturers, we dedicate ourselves to ensuring we remain fully up-to-date with the latest industry news. In recent news, experts have discovered a link between anti-VEGF treatment and mental health illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. To find out more, continue reading.

VEGF stands for Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor, which is a protein that thrives off a lack of oxygen. Consequently, when someone has an oxygen deficit, the production of VEGF increases, leading onto various side effects and vascular disease in the retina and other body parts. 

Anti-VEGF treatments work by interfering with the process of VEGF overproduction by reducing new blood vessel growth and the leakage/ swelling they may cause. These treatments are given through an injection to the eye, directly into the vitreous, the jelly-like substance at the back of the eye. As a treatment, Anti-VEGF injections are very effective and have great success rates.

However, a new article titled “Anti-VEGF patients feel anxiety and depression” has found evidence to support the fact that patients who are receiving anti-VEGF treatments have experienced increased anxiety levels. Although the injection only lasts for a few seconds, the prospect of having a needle injected straight into the eye is too daunting for some. The most recent study was carried out at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, highlighting the psychological concerns patients had regarding the procedure, including the following:

  • Fear that the disease will continue to progress, despite treatment;
  • Fear of blindness caused by the intravitreal injection;
  • Anticipation while waiting to receive the treatment;
  • Fear of the unknown and not knowing what to expect from the treatment. 


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