An intravitreal injection is a procedure to place the medicine directly inside the eyes with the help of the injection. The inside of the eyes is filled with a jelly-like fluid called vitreous. During this procedure, your eye specialist will inject medicine into the vitreous, near retina at the back of the eye. This medicine can treat certain eye problems and help protect your vision also. Age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion are some of the common conditions treated with this kind of procedure. It often helps to get a higher level of medicine to the retina. Antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral drugs are also used to treat patients with infection in the eyes such as endophthalmitis and retinitis.
The procedure is carried out at the eye center by a specialist and it takes about 15 to 30 minutes. The procedure is done by the following steps.
- Drops will be placed in the eyes so that to dilate the pupil.
- You will be asked to lie face up in a comfortable position.
- Your eyes and eyelids will be cleaned.
- Certain numbing drops will be placed in your eye.
- A small equipment will be used to keep your eyelids open for the procedure.
- You will be asked to look towards the other eye so that the medicine can be injected without any hindrance
- Medicine will be injected with a help of a small needle. You will only feel the pressure no pain.
- Antibiotic drops may be placed in your eye later.
What kind of drugs can be given by intravitreal injection?
- anti-VEGF drugs
- Steroids, which reduce inflammation
- Antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal medication
Risk involved in the procedure
The severe complication is rare with the intravitreal injections. The major risk, however, includes the following:
- Infection in the eye
- Inflammation in the eye due to non-infectious inflammatory reaction to some medications
- Bleeding into the vitreous gel
- Retinal detachment
Sometimes there is a small bleed or subconjunctival hemorrhage on the surface of the eye where the needle enters, this generally heals in about a week’s time. The specialist will check for the intraocular pressure, the pressure within the eye after the injection is given. There is generally temporary rise in pressure which returns to baseline in few minutes.
What to expect after the injection
If you experience signs and symptoms of complication given you should contact the retina specialist.
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Increased floaters after the first day
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Decreased vision
Sometimes after the injection, you have a feeling that there is something in your eyes this can be the reaction to povidone-iodine, which is used to clean eye before injection. There are drops given by the doctor to ease the symptoms of dryness and surface irritation. Generally, there is a scheduled visit to the specialist about 4 to 6 weeks after the injection.