Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment used to destroy broken or newly forming abnormal blood vessels associated with wet AMD. It uses a drug called verteporfin that is activated by a bright laser light. Verteporfin is injected into the arm and travels throughout the body. It tends to stick to and accumulate in new blood vessels. After enough time has elapsed to allow the drug to travel to the vessels of the eye, a laser light is shined directly into it. The intense light from the laser activates the drug, which destroys the abnormal blood vessels without harming the surrounding tissue. PDT is often used in combination with Lucentis or another anti-vegf agent. The procedure will be repeated if new abnormal blood vessels form.
PLEASE NOTE: Because the drug temporarily sensitizes the skin to sunlight, patients are required to wear protective clothing (sunglasses, hat, long-sleeved shirt and pants, gloves) when outside until it wears off.
The image below shows how laser light is focused on to specific areas of the retina using a "contact lens" held by the doctor.