Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. This blood and fluid raises the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye, causing scarring and permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells, which creates blind or blurry spots in the central vision. Wet macular degeneration can’t be cured. If diagnosed early, treatment may help slow progress of wet macular degeneration and reduce the amount of vision loss.
What is an intravitreal injection?
Intravitreal injection is an injection into the vitreous, which is the jelly-like substance inside the eye. It is performed to place medicines inside the eye, near the retina. The medicines may help stop growth of new blood vessels by blocking the effects of growth signals the body sends to generate new blood vessels. These drugs are considered the first-line treatment for all stages of wet macular degeneration.
Medications used to treat wet macular degeneration
- Bevacizumab (Avastin)
- Ranibizumab (Lucentis)
- Aflibercept (Eylea)
- Pegaptanib (Macugen)
Intravitreal Injection Procedure
Once your pupil is dilated, the actual procedure takes around 15 minutes. You will lie in a comfortable position and anaesthetic (numbing) drops are placed in your eye. Your eye and eyelids will also be cleaned with an iodine antiseptic solution. The eye is then held open with an instrument and the medicine is injected into your vitreous. You may feel slight pressure on the eye when this is done, but you should not experience pain. After the injection procedure, the doctor will check your eye. Some antibiotic ointment will be placed in your eye before you leave. You may experience a gritty sensation in the eye, and there may be bleeding over the white of the eye. You should not worry about this, it will resolve with time. You might see floaters; however these will become smaller and disappear over a couple weeks. You may undergo repeat injections every few weeks to maintain the beneficial effect of the medicine. In some instances you may partially recover vision as the blood vessels shrink and the fluid under the retina absorbs, allowing retinal cells to regain some function.
Wolfe Eye Clinic has expertise in utilizing intravitreal injections as a treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration. Wolfe Eye Clinic offers complete retina services throughout Iowa, including Ames, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Ottumwa, Spencer and Waterloo.
Please contact Wolfe Eye Clinic at 1-800-542-7956 to ask any questions about intravitrial injections or to schedule an appointment with one of our retina specialists: Dr. David Saggau, Dr. Charles Barnes, Dr. Jared Nielsen, Dr. Kyle Alliman, Dr. Alex Kartvelishvili.