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Intravitreal injections have become the treatment of choice for many eye conditions, including proliferative diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, cystoid macular edema, uveitis, and choroidal neovascularization due to multiple retinal conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.
This is performed in the office and takes about 5 minutes. First, the surface of the eye is numbed by an anesthetic drop, gel, an/or injection. Then the site of injection is disinfected with betadine and a small amount of the medication is injected into the eye by a very small needle. The injection, itself, is usually not felt by the patient, because the site of injection is numb. But some level of discomfort typically follows the injection. The patients may feel irritation, grittiness, and burning sensation for up to 24-36 hours due to the use of betadine. Frequent use of ocular lubricants and rest are the best remedy for discomfort after injection.
The most serious risk associated with an intravitreal injection is infection. Alarming signs of infection include decreased vision, redness of the white part of the eye, severe pain, and severe sensitivity to light. Patients should contact their ophthalmologist immediately if they notice any of those symptoms.
The need to repeat injections and the interval between injections are determined by the ophthalmologist depending on the eye condition and the response to the medication.