Eye injections trim SNF use

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An artificial retina is a better weapon against macular degeneration, investigators say.
An artificial retina is a better weapon against macular degeneration, investigators say.

Injectable drugs ranibizumab (Lucentis) and bevacizumab (Avastin) help prevent nursing home admissions among those with age-related wet macular degeneration, according to findings in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Duke University investigators looked at Medicare claims related to these drugs from 1994 to 2011. Compared with earlier treatments, they reduced vision loss by more than 40% and slowed the onset of blindness, the researchers determined. Within two years, beneficiaries were 19% less likely to be in a nursing home, they found.

Avastin is not FDA-approved to treat wet macular degeneration but has been used off-label.