08 May What are intravitreal injections?
An intravitreal injection
An intravitreal injection is the procedure of placing medication directly into the eye. Pathologies such as Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) or Macular Edema are treated with these injections. The shot goes straight into the vitreous, since the retina is very close, only a small doses of the drug is necessary to work without affecting the rest of the body.
There are now several drugs that can be injected into the vitreous. Currently, the most common ones are anti-VEGF, which inhibit the formation of new blood vessels and reduce the permeability of the retinal blood vessels. The two anti- VEGF drugs most commonly used are Eylea (Aflibercept) and Luncentis (Ranibizumab).
When are intravitreal injections used?
These injections are used to treat a variety of retinal conditions.
- Wet AMD or neovascular AMD is the less frequent form of Age Related Macular Degeneration, yet the quickest to progress. Patients that have this condition will notice a severe loss or distortion of their central vision needing immediate treatment to prevent it.
- Macular Edema, is due to inflammation or build-up fluid in the macula, an area in the center part of the retina. It may appear after uveitis, vein occlusion or diabetes. In some cases it may develop after a surgery that is performed inside the eye.
What to expect during the procedure?
The intravitreal injection is a quick and non-painful procedure. Anesthesia drops are administered to numb the eye. At the time of the injection the patient may feel some pressure on the eye. After the injection they may notice a small bubble that will disappear after a couple of hours.
What to do after the intravitreal injection?
There is no special treatment for after the procedure, except avoid touching your eyes. Sunglasses are advised and if you notice any discomfort use artificial eye drops frequently until it improves. In the case of having severe pain, seek urgent medical consultation with your eye doctor.
Dr. Eva Salinas – Ophthalmologist at Visionker Eye Clinic in Torrevieja (Alicante)
Emilio Villena – Optometrist at Visionker Eye Clinic in Torrevieja (Alicante)