By the time you hit age 55, you are facing a serious risk of macular degeneration, an eye disease that is a huge reason for blindness in the elderly.
The dry kind is more common, but the wet kind is more devastating. The good news is Friday, the FDA approved the first drug that can preserve the vision of 90% of patients with "wet" age-related macular degeneration. The drug is called Lucentis.
"Lucentis is a quantum leap forward in our ability to treat wet age related macular degeneration," said Dr. Glenn Stoller, an ophthalmologist.
"It changed my life because it gave me my life back," said Valerie Frey.
Lucentis is given by injection once a month in the eye. Sounds creepy, but what a blessing for some patients, like Valerie. Because, remarkably, Lucentis has been found to maintain and even improve the vision in patients with the wet form of macular degeneration. The biggest drawback right now is it could be extremely expensive...some predict up to $1,000 a month.
The most common side effect was eye pain and pressure, and hemorrhaging of the outer membrane of the eye. Genentech is the maker of the drug. There are other drugs available to treat wet age-related macular degeneration, like Macugen.