Eye injection or often called Intravitreal injection is a modality of treatment where a medication is injected inside the gel (vitreous) of the eye. It is used to treat a variety of conditions, such as:
What is eye injection or intravitreal injection treatment?
Patients with these conditions can lose central vision when abnormal blood vessels leak or bleed at the back of the eye.
What are the medications used for intravitreal injection?
There are 2 main groups of medications that are approved for eye injections. They are used to treat a variety of eye conditions. They are:
How is the treatment given?
The medication is given by injection into your eye with a fine needle. The procedure takes 5–10 minutes, but the injection itself takes about 30 seconds.
- Local anaesthetic drops are applied to numb your eye.
- Your eyelids and eye surface are cleaned to prevent infection.
- Your face and the area around your eye will be covered by a drape to keep the area sterile.
- A small clip will be used to keep the eye open.
- A few seconds later, the injection is given.
- Your vision is assessed post-injection by checking hand movements or counting fingers, and a final lot of antibiotic drops are instilled before the drapes are taken off.
How does anti-VEGF work?
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a protein that promotes the growth of new blood vessels and makes the blood vessels more leaky. Anti-VEGF medicines stop the growth of these new blood vessels. This can prevent damage to the retina and loss of central vision. These medicines are effective in preventing further central vision loss in up to 90% of treated eyes.
The treatment course often requires multiple injections. Initially, the doctor usually starts the course with 3 injections, taken a month apart, called the “loading dose,” and then the treatment is tailored according to the response to the initial loading treatment. The interval between injections can be gradually extended to 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks, or 12 weeks, according to the response to treatment. You will be monitored at regular intervals with retinal scans to assess your response to treatment.
Mr Ellabban will assess you and discuss with you if you will benefit from the treatment and which treatment option is the best for you.
How does steroid implants work?
These are very tiny implants containing long-acting steroid medicine injected inside the eye via a special applicator. Steroids are known to have a potent anti-inflammatory effect that can help treat eye inflammation or conditions that may cause eye inflammation. They are injected inside the eye in the same way.
What are the risks from intravitreal injections?
As with any medical procedure, there is a small risk of complications following eye injection treatment. Most complications that might occur are from the injection itself, rather than the medication. For most patients, the benefit of the treatment outweighs the small risk of injection injury.
These risks can be (rare):
- Serious eye infection (one in 2,000 cases).
- Increase in eye pressure (often temporary).
- Blood clots and bleeding in the eye (rare).
- Inflammation inside the eye (rare).
- Cataract (rare).
Therefore, after the injection, if you experience any of the symptoms below, you should contact your eye specialist urgently;
- Increasing pain/ache in the eye
- Sudden decrease or change in vision
- Increasing number of black dots (floaters)
Mr Ellabban will assess you and discuss with you which type of eye injection treatment is indicated in your case, details of treatment, risks and benefits, and advise you about the procedure.