Wolfe Eye Clinic | Iowa Eye Surgery News

March 18, 2021

Clinical trial for wet age-related macular degeneration treatment shows potential after Wolfe Eye Clinic participation

Phase III study, LUCERENE, recently announced optimistic clinical trial results for patients with wet (neovascular) age-related macular degeneration (AMD).1 Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialists have been active participants in the LUCERENE study since April 2019, investigating Roche’s Faricimab, an intravitreal eye injection medication in patients with wet AMD. Results are promising thus far – Faricimab shows potential as a treatment for wet AMD, extending time between eye injections up to 16 weeks and possibly reducing the burden of wet AMD treatment for patients.

Wolfe Eye Clinic is involved in a number of ongoing clinical trials in our Des Moines Retina Center to help advance and reduce the burden of retinal eye disease treatment for Iowans. This mission has proven critical as some retinal diseases including wet AMD, can bear a heavy burden on patients and caregivers through vision loss and necessary frequent treatments. Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialists are excited about the recent faricimab clinical trial announcement and the potential for fewer injections for patients with wet AMD.

Des Moines Retina Doctor | Dr. Jared Nielsen“We are grateful to be involved in this international effort to make treatment better for all patients and families who suffer from wet AMD, said Jared Nielsen, MD, MBA, Retina Surgeon and Director of Clinical Trials at Wolfe Eye Clinic. “Advancements being made with Faricimab and other promising new drugs will enable us to safely control the disease with less eye injections. This will be a huge win for everyone who is impacted by this blinding disease which is so common among Iowans.”

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration? (AMD)

AMD is a leading cause of blindness in adults over 60, gradually destroying central, sharp vision by damaging the central area of the retina.2 The retina is a layer of light-sensitive tissue alongside the back of the eye and is responsible for converting incoming light into neural signals that are used by the brain for visual recognition. A healthy retina is crucial for good functional vision. In wet, or neovascular AMD, abnormal blood vessels attack the center part of the retina known as the macula, the part of the retina responsible for our fine central vision. Wet AMD is one type of AMD and while it is less common than its counterpart, dry AMD, a majority of severe vision loss is caused by wet AMD.

How do you treat wet AMD?

Wet AMD treatment is necessary to stop the disease, improve vision and prevent permanent vision loss. In many cases wet AMD cannot be cured but can be managed with regular treatment. Treatment for wet AMD typically consists of painless intravitreal injections of medication into the eye that block signals for abnormal blood vessel growth. Injections which deliver medications into the vitreous can be needed as frequently as every month depending on how the disease responds to treatment.3 In recent years, there have been strides made in treatment innovation through clinical trials in order to extend the time between treatments and reduce the number of injections needed to maintain vision in patients with wet AMD.

Faricimab is one of the latest intravitreal medications to be evaluated and is the first investigational bispecific antibody designed for the eye. This drug blocks two separate pathways that are important in abnormal blood vessel growth. In comparison to another intravitreal injection drug, aflibercept also known as Eylea, Faricimab shows promise for administration less frequently without sacrificing visual acuity gains. Results also indicate the drug to be well tolerated.  

Retina Doctor Near Me

Retina specialists are ophthalmologists with additional specialized training in medical and surgical treatment of retina disease. Dr. Jared Nielsen, Dr. David Saggau and Dr. Kyle Alliman have been investigators in recent retina clinical trials at our Des Moines Retina Center. Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialists are highly trained in evaluating, diagnosing and treating retinal diseases including AMD, diabetic eye disease, epiretinal membrane, macular holes, and retinal tears and detachments. If you believe your vision is being impacted by retina disease, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your primary eye doctor. Our retina surgeons will then work with your eye doctor to provide further treatment as needed. Wolfe Eye Clinic retina specialists can always see you in case of a retinal emergency or for a second opinion. You can request an appointment here, or give us a call at (833) 474-5850. Wolfe Eye Clinic offers retina services in Ames, Cedar FallsCedar Rapids, Des MoinesFort DodgeIowa CityMarshalltownOttumwaSpencerWaterloo and Pleasant Hill


1. Roche. Roche’s faricimab meets primary endpoint in two global phase III studies and shows potential to extend time between treatments up to 16 weeks for people with neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Available at https://www.roche.com/media/releases/med-cor-2021-01-25.htm. Accessed February 18, 2021.

2. Bright Focus Foundation. Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Facts & Figures. Available from: https://www.brightfocus.org/macular/article/age-related-macular-facts-figures. Accessed February 18, 2021.

3..AMDF. Eylea Injection Treatment of Macular Degeneration. Available at https://www.macular.org/eylea-injection-treatmentAccessed February 18, 2021.