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Idiopathic Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV)

The macula is the small, specialized area of the retina that gives us our straight-ahead reading and driving vision New blood vessel growth beneath the macula (choroidal neovascularization, CNV) can develop in some patients with with otherwise normal eyes. These are called idiopathic CNV. These vessels cause the macula to swell with fluid and blood that can lead to permanent central vision loss. There are many causes of CNV including age-related macular degeneration, angioid streaks, choroidal rupture, degenerative myopia, and ocular histoplasmosisFluorescein angiography and OCT scanning help diagnosis the presence of CNV.

normal macula
Normal macula

macula with Idiopathic Choroidal Neovascularization
Idiopathic CNV with macular blood

Treatment options include:

  • VEGF inhibitors. Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea belong to a new class of potent medications, VEGF inhibitors, that prevent CNV from growing and leaking. They have been extensively studied in patients with age-related macular degeneration, and are also highly effective in myopic CNV. Click here to learn more.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT is sometimes used as a combined treatment with VEGF inhibitors to decrease the number of injections. Click here to learn more.
  • Thermal laser photocoagulation. For CNV well away from the macular center, thermal laser can be used as a combined treatment with VEGF inhibitors to decrease the number of injections. Click here to learn more.