Intravitreal injections are used to deliver medication to the retina and other parts of the eye. By doing this, the drugs are absorbed by the eye as opposed to the rest of the body. Intravitreal injections treat a wide variety of conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal vascular disease.
How the Process Works
Though it may seem unnatural to have medication injected into the back of your eye, the procedure goes quickly and usually only involves mild discomfort.
First, the retina specialist dilates your eyes. A numbing solution is applied to minimize pain, and the eyes are cleaned with an antiseptic. A speculum is inserted, injecting the medicine into the back of your eye. The type of medication used is chosen by your eye specialist. The most common include Lucentis, Avastin, Triamcinolone and Macugen.
During the procedure, you may feel some pressure and mild discomfort. The whole process doesn’t take long – usually around 10 minutes – and you are kept comfortable. When the medicine has been delivered, you are given antibiotic ointment and an eye pad. The ointment is used for one week, and you will also visit your eye specialist during this time.
Why it’s Important to Choose a Retina Specialist
More general eye doctors are offering intravitreal injections, but it’s highly recommended to work with a retina specialist. These surgeons have extensive experience when it comes to intravitreal injections, and they are trained to handle complications. Risks that they will be familiar with include bleeding, floaters, increased eye pressure and infection.
While general eye doctors may be able to work on a textbook patient, they may not be as up to date on the best treatment regimens. Additionally, a board-certified retina specialist ensures that you receive a proper diagnosis. The decision of whether to inject, which drug to inject and how often to inject is just as important as the injection itself.
If you suffer from any of the conditions mentioned above, talk to your eye specialist about intravitreal injections. It’s possible that one of these medications can maintain and even improve your vision.