Ozurdex is often prescribed to treat macular edema and uveitis, conditions that cause swelling of the eye. It works by releasing a steroid medication into the eye, which reduces inflammation and helps bring down swelling. Unapproved uses of Ozurdex (also called off-label uses) include the treatment of diabetic macular edema.
Ozurdex® (dexamethasone intravitreal implant) is a prescription eye medication. It comes as an implant that contains dexamethasone, a medication that belongs to the corticosteroid class of medicines. Ozurdex is approved to treat the following eye conditions:
- Macular edema (swelling) caused by retinal vein occlusion (RVO), which is a blockage of the veins that carry blood out of the eye
- Uveitis (inflammation of the uvea).
The retina is the inner lining of the back part of the eye. It is lined with light-sensitive cells that are critical for vision. The macula is the center part of the retina and is responsible for clear, sharp vision. Macular edema is swelling of the macula.
Macular edema can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the things that can lead to macular edema is a blockage of the veins in the eye, or retinal vein occlusion.
Blood from the retina leaves the eye through the retinal vein. Retinal vein occlusion is the medical term used to describe a blockage of this vein. RVO can occur in either the small vessels that branch off the retinal vein (branch retinal vein occlusion) or in the main retinal vein (central retinal vein occlusion).
When RVO occurs, blood does not flow out of the eye as it normally would. As a result, the surrounding tiny blood vessels (capillaries) may become damaged, leading to swelling of the retina and macula and problems with vision. RVO can take months to heal and, if left untreated, can cause permanent vision loss.
Ozurdex is used to treat macular edema caused by either branch or central retinal vein occlusion. It reduces macular swelling, which may help improve some of the vision loss from RVO.
In clinical studies, 20 to 30 percent of people given Ozurdex had improved vision (at least a three-line improvement on the eye chart) in the first two months after receiving the injection. The improvement in vision lasted about one to three months.