For many retinal and macular diseases, eye injections are the standard of care. The most common type of medication that is administered directly to the eye via injection is anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medications, although steroids and antibiotics may also be administered via injection.
Anti-VEGFs are a class of medications used to halt the process of neovascularization, which is when abnormal blood vessels form in the retina. Anti-VEGF medications work by inhibiting the protein responsible for blood vessel formation. The most well-known anti-VEGF medications are Eylea (aflibercept), Lucentis (ranibizumab), and Avastin (bevacizumab).
Conditions Treated Using Eye Injections
Anti-VEGF medications are commonly used in the treatment of:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Retinal artery and vein occlusion
- Diabetic macular edema
Eye Injections: What to Expect
While it’s natural for many patients to be nervous about receiving eye injections, the entire procedure seems a lot scarier than it actually is. Before injections are administered, the patient’s eyes are numbed using anesthetizing eye drops. The doctor also applies antiseptic on the eye and eyelid to help prevent bacterial infection. The eye is often held open with a speculum. The doctor asks the patient to look away so that they won’t see the needle. Most patients experience very little pain, if any, during the procedure. Patients typically report feeling some pressure during the injection. The entire process takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Eye Injections Recovery
Eye injections are a quick process that is performed in-office. Afterward, patients may experience some minor eye irritation or even see a spot of blood in their eye. However, this is normal and generally clears up on its own. It’s important to not touch your eye after injection.