Intravitreal InjectionAn intravitreal injection is a procedure to place a medication directly into the eye. Intravitreal injections are used to treat a variety of retinal conditions. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR) and retinal vein occlusion (RVO) are the most common conditions treated with intravitreal injections. Anti-VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) drugs are the most commonly used agents. These drugs prevent the growth of abnormal blood vessels, prevent bleeding, and stop leakage from blood vessels. Consequently, they may stabilize or improve vision in conditions which would otherwise lead to progressive loss of vision. Since the concentration of the drugs declines over time, injections must be repeated to maintain the treatment effect. This may require reinjection as frequently as every 1-2 months. Other drugs such as steroids, antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungal agents may also be given by intravitreal injection.
The procedure is done in the office using topical or subconjunctival anesthesia. The ocular surface is treated with an antiseptic to reduce the risk of infection. A lid speculum may be used to keep the eyelids open during the procedure. There is usually minimal pain from the injection. Following the injection, you may experience temporary decrease in vision, floaters, sensitivity to light and irritation which may last several hours. There may also be a red spot on the white part of the eye where the injection was given. Artificial tears are recommended to reduce these side effects. If you experience severe pain or loss of vision, you should call your doctor. A follow-up visit is scheduled in 4-6 weeks.