Intravitreal Injections

RCA & the AAO Present Retina CME Injections

Intravitreal Injection is a common procedure routinely performed in the office. Treatment is performed by injecting the prescribed medicine with a very fine needle into the back portion of your eye. Your ophthalmologist will clean your eye to prevent infection and will administer an anesthetic on the surface of your eye to make the procedure virtually painless. Often, multiple injections are required over the course of many months depending on the type and severity of retinal disease being treated. There is a very small risk of complications with anti-VEGF treatment, usually resulting from the injection itself. However, for most people, the benefits of this treatment outweigh the small risk of complications.

Retina VMA Injections

Intravitreal injections using anti-VEGF drugs are most commonly performed in the treatment of “wet” age-related macular degeneration, in which abnormal blood vessels grow u-derneath the retina. Researchers have found that a chemical called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, is critical in causing abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. Scientists have developed several new anti-VEGF drugs that can limit the leakage of fluid and blood from these abnormal blood vessels, thereby reducing vision loss.

RCA & the AAO Present Retina Diabetic Injection Macular Edema

Since anti-VEGF therapies have shown good potential for slowing vascular leakage and vi-sion loss associated with wet AMD, ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) are using them to treat other causes of macular edema. If your ophthalmologist has diagnosed you with diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, or another retinal disease involving abnormal blood vessel growth, you may benefit from anti-VEGF treatment.

Intravitreal steroid injections can be used for the treatment of macular edema (swelling) and ocular inflammatory diseases. Occasionally, intravitreal injections of antibiotics are used to treat a serious eye infection.

Anti-VEGF Drugs

RCA & the AAO Present Retina Wet AMD Medication Injection

Exudative or “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs in approximately 10% patients who have AMD. It may lead to a devastating vision loss as abnormal blood vessels grow under the central part of the retina (macula) and leak fluid, blood, or yellowish fatty deposits (exudates). If left untreated it will eventually lead to formation of a macular scar and cause irreversible vision loss.

There are three primary anti-VEGF drugs that are injected directly into the eye to slow down the growth of the leaking blood vessels: ranibizumab (Lucentis), bevacizumab (Avastin), and aflibercept (Eylea). Pegabtanib (Macugen), the first anti-VEGF drug for wet AMD, and photodynamic therapy (PDT) are treatments that are considered less effective than the drugs above but still may be used under special circumstances. PDT may be used conjunction with anti-VEGF drugs to treat wet AMD.

Ranibizumab, bevacizumab, and aflibercept have been very successful in treating patients with AMD, however, they do not cure this disease. Most patients require multiple monthly injections (indefinitely in some cases). As with any type of surgical procedure and administration of medication, there are potential risks that include a serious infection (endophthalmitis), retinal detachment (separation of the retinal tissue from the back of the eye), clouding of the lens (cataract), and elevated eye pressure (glaucoma). Patients should call their doctor immediately if they experience a major decline in vision or severe pain after the injection. A mild amount of discomfort is expected and can often be resolved with frequent use of artificial tears, cool compresses, ice packs, and/or Tylenol. Despite the limitations of anti-VEGF drugs, they offer hope to preserve vision and to allow many AMD patients to enjoy an improved quality of life and maintain independence.

Contact us to learn more about Intravitreal Injections.