Histoplasmosis treatment consists of anti-VEGF treatment, laser therapy and/or steroid injection.
One method for treating histoplasmosis targets a specific chemical in your body that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. That chemical is called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF. Several new drug treatments (called anti-VEGF drugs) have been developed that can block the trouble-causing VEGF. Blocking VEGF reduces the growth of blood vessels, slows their leakage, helps to slow vision loss, and in some cases improves vision.
Your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) administers the anti-VEGF drug directly to your eye in an outpatient procedure. Before the procedure, your ophthalmologist will clean your eye to prevent infection and will use an anesthetic to numb your eye with a very fine needle. You may receive multiple anti-VEGF injections over the course of many months. Repeat anti-VEGF treatments are often needed for continued benefit.
Laser treatment for histoplasmosis is usually done as an outpatient procedure in the doctor’s office or at the hospital.
The laser beam in this procedure is a high-energy, focused beam of light that produces a small burn when it hits the area of the retina to be treated. This destroys the abnormal blood vessels, preventing further leakage, bleeding and growth.
Following laser treatment, vision may be more blurred than before treatment, but often it will stabilize within a few weeks. A scar forms where the treatment occurred, creating a permanent blind spot that might be noticeable in your field of vision.
Laser treatment does not cure histoplasmosis. However, it reduces the chance of abnormal blood vessels returning. If these blood vessels do return, additional laser surgery may be needed.
Because histoplasmosis can cause inflammation in the eye, sometimes steroid injections are given in the eye to reduce the swelling.
Histoplasmosis remains a threat to your vision for your lifetime. Therefore, it is important to have regular checkups with your ophthalmologist to detect any problems as early as possible.