At the age of 61, Harold started noticing his vision wasn’t quite what it used to be. On the golf course, straight lines appeared wavy, and at home, he had trouble reading his computer screen. As the son of an optometrist, Harold knew it was important to seek out support from an eyecare professional.
After finding the right doctor, Harold received a diagnosis of Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Wet AMD), a serious retinal disease which can lead to vision loss or even blindness. Harold began treatment with EYLEA™ (aflibercept) Injection, an intravitreal (meaning that it is injected into the eye) medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for wet AMD. Ever since, Harold has been sticking to a regular treatment schedule to help maintain his vision.
EYLEA is a prescription medicine administered by injection into the eye. You should not use EYLEA if you have an infection in or around the eye, eye pain or redness, or known allergies to any of the ingredients in EYLEA, including aflibercept. Please see additional Important Safety Information below.
Talking to Your Eyecare Doctor During COVID-19
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic was restricting travel and altering routines across the country, Harold found himself wondering if his eyecare would be affected as well.
He knew his sight was too important to risk missing appointments, so he decided to speak to his eye doctor about the best plan for him and how he should move forward during these uncertain times.
Through an honest discussion, Harold learned that the doctor offices were remaining open but taking extra precautions when seeing patients. Knowing that he could seek regular treatment, and work with his doctor to safely help protect against vision loss, made Harold feel a bit better.
Navigating the “New Normal”
Here are some useful tips based on Harold’s experience to help patients feel comfortable watching their eyesight amid this “new normal.”
• Take care of yourself and your vision: During uncertain times, it is important to check in with your health and well-being. Keeping track of changes in vision and maintaining open communication with your doctor is a great way to do this. Harold has found that his doctor has been accommodating with his schedule, making it easier to stay in touch and make appointments.
• Have a plan in place: If your doctor feels an in-person visit would be best for you, make sure to check in with them to see what their current procedures are. Harold has a process in place where he calls his doctor when he’s outside and waits for them to tell him to come up. They do this to make sure there aren’t too many people in the office at once and promote social distancing measures to minimize contact.
• Safety first: It is important to keep your safety top of mind, both at home and at the doctor. Given the situation, many doctors make sure to take extra care to always wear masks and wash their hands multiple times. For Harold, this makes him feel much more comfortable during visits. Don’t forget to carry this practice through once you’re home, washing your hands as soon as you get through the door and refraining from touching your face.
Harold’s advice to people who may suffer from retinal diseases: “Reach out to your eye doctor to see what their processes are during this time. People shouldn’t have to be worried about what will happen if they go to the doctor’s office. I was pleasantly surprised to see how smooth the process was with the COVID-19 precautions in place.”
If you or someone you know may be experiencing signs of Wet AMD or several other retinal diseases like Diabetic Macular Edema (DME), which could lead to severe vision loss, be sure to speak with your doctor about coming in for an exam and potential treatment options like EYLEA. Depending on your insurance situation, EYLEA has several financial assistance programs available to help eligible patients with the cost of EYLEA. Go to www.EYLEA.us/ to learn more.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION AND INDICATIONS
• EYLEA is a prescription medicine administered by injection into the eye. You should not use EYLEA if you have an infection in or around the eye, eye pain or redness, or known allergies to any of the ingredients in EYLEA, including aflibercept.
• Injection into the eye with EYLEA can result in an infection in the eye and retinal detachment (separation of retina from back of the eye). Inflammation in the eye has been reported with the use of EYLEA.
• In some patients, injections with EYLEA may cause a temporary increase in eye pressure within 1 hour of the injection. Sustained increases in eye pressure have been reported with repeated injections, and your doctor may monitor this after each injection.
• There is a potential risk of serious and sometimes fatal side effects related to blood clots, leading to heart attack or stroke in patients receiving EYLEA.
• Serious side effects related to the injection procedure with EYLEA are rare but can occur including infection inside the eye and retinal detachment.
• The most common side effects reported in patients receiving EYLEA are increased redness in the eye, eye pain, cataract, vitreous (gel-like substance) detachment, vitreous floaters, moving spots in the field of vision, and increased pressure in the eye.
• It is important that you contact your doctor right away if you think you might be experiencing any side effects, including eye pain or redness, light sensitivity, or blurring of vision, after an injection.
• EYLEA is for prescription use only. For additional safety information, please talk to your doctor and see the full Prescribing Information for EYLEA.
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.