Intravitreal injections are commonly used to treat retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, macular edema, and retinal vein occlusion. These diseases may result in severe loss of vision and should be treated as early as possible. Medications such as Lucentis, Avastin, Macugen or Triamcinolone can be injected directly into the eye to help patients maintain their vision and keep vision loss at a minimum. Some patients may see an improvement in their vision from these injections as well, depending on the condition being treated.
Intravitreal injections are especially effective in treating wet age-related macular degeneration, which, although less common than the dry form, accounts for more than 90% of blindness caused by the disease.
This procedure is performed right in the office and requires only a local anesthetic. Before the medication is injected, the eye is numbed with anesthetic eye drops to help minimize discomfort. The eye is then sterilized with an antiseptic solution. The medication is then injected directly into the eye through the white area (sclera). Intravitreal injections may be administered as frequently as once a month, depending on the condition being treated, in order to maintain eye health and optimize the vision.
Patients may experience some pain or scratchy sensations after the injection. Occasionally patients may develop subconjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding on the surface of the white of the eye), floaters, increased eye pressure, and/or inflammation of the eye. These side effects typically resolve spontaneously or can be treated with eye drops. Other less common risks include infection, bleeding in the eye, retinal tears or detachment, and cataract formation.
Learn more about the medications used in these injections: