Many retinal diseases can be managed with an injection of medicine into the eye. These treatments save vision in many eyes that before would experience severe vision loss and blindness. While it’s natural to be apprehensive about these treatments, injections are generally painless, well tolerated and easier than anticipated.
What is an intravitreal injection?
Intravitreal injection is an injection of medicine 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 the growth of new blood vessels and prevent leakage by blocking the effects of signals the eye creates as a response to the disease. These drugs are considered the first-line treatment for many retinal diseases including- age-related wet macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, choroidal neovascularization, and histoplasmosis.
MEDICATIONS USED TO TREAT RETINAL DISEASE
- Bevacizumab (Avastin)
- Ranibizumab (Lucentis)
- Aflibercept (Eylea)
- Pegaptanib (Macugen)
INTRAVITREAL INJECTION TREATMENT GOALS
- Prevent further vision loss
- Improve vision
- Minimize treatment intervals while continuing to preserve vision
Intravitreal Injection Procedure
You will lie in a comfortable position and your eye will be anesthetized. Your eye will also be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. The medicine is then carefully injected into your vitreous by your doctor. You may feel a slight pressure on the eye when this is done, but you should not experience pain. After the injection procedure, the eye is gently rinsed to remove any remaining antiseptic solution. You may experience a scratchy sensation in the eye, and there may be a bruising or red spot over the white of the eye. You should not worry about this, it will resolve with time. You might see floaters; however, these will typically become smaller and disappear over a couple weeks.
HOW MANY INJECTIONS WILL I NEED?
There is no way of knowing how many treatments your eye will require as everyone is unique. Many times the eye is not “cured”, instead, the disease process is halted. It is possible that you will require regular treatments to maintain the beneficial effect of the medicine and preserve vision. In some instances, you may even partially recover vision as a response to the medicine over time. The retina specialists at Wolfe Eye Clinic will work very closely with you to achieve maximum results while minimizing treatment intervals as much as possible specific to your needs.
Wolfe Eye Clinic has expertise in utilizing intravitreal injections for many retinal conditions. 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 intravitreal 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, Dr. George Par, and Dr. Paul Boeke.