What is an intravitreal injection?
An intravitreal injection is an injection into the vitreous inside the eye. The vitreous is a gel-like substance that is attached to the surface of the retina, and helps the eye to maintain its round shape.
Why is it performed?
An intravitreal injection is administered in order to hinder the growth of new blood vessels near the retina and to treat wet macular degeneration, a disorder that destroys clear vision slowly over time.
An intravitreal injection may also be recommended for treatment of the following conditions:
- Macular edema The swelling of the macula, which is the part of the eye that allows for clear, central vision.
- Diabetic retinopathy A condition that can cause abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina.
- Inflammation of the eyeball and eye infections
- Retinal vein occlusion A disorder that causes blockages in the veins that carry blood out of the eye.
How does the procedure work?
First, your doctor will place anaesthetic drops into the eye, and clean it with an antiseptic solution. The eye will be held open with special tools, so that medicine can be injected. Once the medicine has been injected, your doctor will examine your eye, and apply an antibiotic formula to reduce the risk of infection.
Your doctor may recommend several injections over the course of a few weeks to ensure that the medicine is as effective as possible. An intravitreal injection generally has highly effective results and you are likely to experience an improvement in your vision as the blood vessels shrink and retinal cells regain function.
After the procedure, it is quite normal to feel a little bit of discomfort in the eye, or to experience some bleeding on the white of the eye. You won’t feel any pain, and any strange sensations will pass after a short period of time. Your doctor will prescribe some eye drop medication, and you may be required to schedule a follow-up appointment.