Image of senior receiving eye exam

The Food and Drug Administration has approved an ocular implant that may reduce the need for vision loss treatment from monthly to twice yearly for some older adults, drugmaker Roche said. 

Susvimo involves an implanted port that allows continuous delivery of Roche’s ranibizumab medication directly to the eye to treat neovascular or “wet” age-related macular degeneration (nAMD). 

The condition can lead to blindness, and the current standard of care may require a visit to a doctor every four-to-six weeks for therapeutic injections that slow or halt loss of vision. Missed appointments can result in disease progression. The new port delivery system, in contrast, is implanted through a tiny incision in the eye, potentially reducing those clinic visits to as few as twice yearly and improving compliance by allowing refills, according to the drug’s developers.

About 8 million adults aged 50 and over in the United States have age-related macular degeneration, an incurable disease. The advanced stage causes blindness in 1.75 million Americans, and prompt treatment is crucial.

Susvimo offers the first alternative option to nAMD treatment to be approved in 15 years, Roche said in a statement.