Home | What is AMD? | Treatment with Visudyne                                      Prescribing Information | Important Safety Information

What is AMD?

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that damages the macula. This part of the eye is responsible for central vision, which is needed to perform straight-ahead activities, such as reading, driving, or watching TV. A person diagnosed with AMD has either dry AMD or wet AMD.

AMD is not uncommon. In fact, AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over the age of 60. Many people may already have AMD without realizing it. Although wet AMD is far less common than the dry type, it is responsible for about 85% of severe vision loss.
That’s why it’s important to visit your eye doctor on a regular basis. It’s the best defense to preserve your vision.

The parts of the eye and what they do

Light passes through the cornea and then through the lens at the front of the eye. The light then travels to the back part of the eye, called the retina.The light strikes the macula at the center of the retina, where vision is sharpest. Once the retina and macula have received the light, the optic nerve sends a visual message to the brain, and sight is created.

What happens inside the eye?

This is a close-up of a normal retina. Notice that the yellow layer called Bruch’s membrane separates blood vessels of the choroid from the rest of the retina. The eye is surrounded by a protective layer of fibrous tissue called the sclera. Deep in the back of the eye, tiny blood vessels supply blood to the retina and macula. The macula is located at the center of the retina. These blood vessels can be found in the choroid, a layer of the eye that lies between the retina and the sclera.In wet AMD, when vision loss occurs, drusen (fatty deposits under the macula) and abnormal vessel growth are responsible. Abnormal vessel growth is also called choroidal neovascularization (CNV). Neo = new; vascularization = vessel growth.

What happens inside an eye with AMD?

Dry AMD - Fatty deposits called drusen accumulate in Bruch’s membrane, which may negatively impact vision as they increase in size. Visudyne is not approved to treat dry AMD.

Wet AMD - Abnormal blood vessels push up into Bruch’s membrane, leaking fluid and/or blood under the macula and causing serious vision loss.

A person with wet AMD may experience:

  • Lines that appear wavy
  • Blurring of faces
  • Difficulty seeing colors
  • Gaps in vision (i.e., dark or empty spaces that may block the center of vision)


How vision may change over time

When abnormal vessels leak fluid and/or blood under the macula, vision loss occurs because of damage and disruption to the retinal tissue. This damage often rapidly advances over time, affecting more of your vision. That is why it is so important for you to commit to a treatment plan with your eye care professional and stick to your regularly scheduled visits.

How changes might distort the appearance of an Amsler grid.* An Amsler grid is a tool that lets you check changes in your vision.

What those changes may look like in everyday life.*

*The above are artists’ representations and may not depict all patient situations.

Treatment with Visudyne >>


Visudyne (verteporfin for injection) is used along with laser light treatment to stop leaking from blood vessels in the eye due to the following serious eye conditions: age-related macular degeneration (a condition affecting the retina of the eye which can impair vision), pathologic myopia (extreme nearsightedness) or ocular histoplasmosis (a certain type of fungus infection in the eye).

Important Safety Information

  • Visudyne (verteporfin for injection) should not be used if you have a condition known as porphyria, or if you are allergic to it or any of its components.
  • Avoid exposure of skin and eyes to direct sunlight or bright indoor light for 5 days after treatment with Visudyne by wearing protective clothes and dark sunglasses. A UV sunscreen will not offer enough protection for your skin. Wear a wristband to remind you to do this. However, do not stay in totally dark areas.  You should expose your skin to regular indoor and/or indirect light because doing so will help inactivate the drug in your skin. 
  • In clinical studies, the most common side effects were injection site reactions (such as pain, redness, irritation, and swelling) or changes in vision (including blurred vision and flashes of light).  Tell your doctor about any side effects that you may have. 
  • Do not drive or use machines if you develop or have changes in vision.

​Please see complete Prescribing Information for Visudyne (192.8 KB, PDF).

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.

Visudyne (verteporfin for injection): Additional information

Visudyne is a trademark of Novartis AG used under license.