Medicine can be injected into the back of your eye through a procedure called intravitreal injection. The vitreous is the jelly component filling the back half of the eye. The jelly cavity of the eyeball is adjacent to the retina, hence medication given in this region will reach the problem area in the retina to hopefully improve the condition.
In our combined practice, more than a 1000 injections are done annually, with extremely low As with any medical procedure, unforeseen adverse events
complication rates (less than 0.1% complication rate). can occur.
It is not possible to list all the complications that can occur with injections into the eye, but the most common complications that can occur, are listed here:
- Bleeding into the eye
- Retinal Detachment
- Lens damage and cataract formation
- Infection (Endophthalmitis) (less than 1/10000)
- Systemic problems such as stroke or heart attack – these complications are difficult to proveand remain controversial. Some studies have demonstrated a slightly increased number of cardiac events and or stroke in patients who receive intravitreal injections. It is important to discuss this risk with your doctor.
- No response – unfortunately, an estimated 30% of patients will not improve with injections.
These injections are used to treat Diabetic retinopathy, Age-related macular edema and other causes of retinal swelling.
Most of the abovementioned conditions are complicated conditions, and many alternative treatment regimes are available including laser or surgery. Generally speaking, alternative options are usually inferior in outcome when compared to intravitreal injections. Your eye doctor will discuss all the available treatment options with you.
The injections are safe and rarely associated with any complications.
The procedure is quick and relatively pain-free. The procedure is done in a side room under strict sterile conditions. The whole procedure takes less than 5 minutes. After drops are placed in your eye to numb it, a small wire speculum is inserted into the eye to help you keep the eye open during the injection. The eye is washed with antibiotics, and the injection then made into the eye – the needle enters the side of the eye, and you will not see the needle. An extremely small calibre needle is used, making it almost pain-free. After the injection, we apply medication to the eye, and you can leave the offices.
After the injection, it is common to have a slightly red eye. The eye can also be scratchy for a day or two. After the injection, a small air bubble is also commonly seen for a day or two. Most people report seeing purple or grey “clouds” swirling in their eye for a few minutes after the injection – which is also normal.
Warning signs of complications that must be reported to the office immediately are:
- Worsening red eye
- Eyelid swelling
- Worsening vision