Intravitreal Injection Therapy

This page explains the benefits, risks, alterntives, and what to expect during and after your injections.

The image to the left shows a healthy retinal layer. The image to the right shows fluid in the retinal layer, indicating an injection is needed.

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What is an eye injection?

Eye injections are a standard treatment for vision threatening eye conditions like Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Retinal Vein Occlusion, Diabetic Macular Edema, etc. This method allows medicine to reach the back of the eye, where it is needed. It also prevents abnormal blood vessels from growing and leaking in the back of your eye and disrupting your vision.

What are the benefits?

The eye injections will give you the best chance of preventing your eye condition from getting worse. In some cases, this treatment can improve your vision.

What happens if I don’t have the treatment?

It is likely that without treatment, the vision in the affected eye will get worse over time and may not be recoverable. Please speak to your doctor if you would like information about the alternative treatment options that may be available to you.

What happens during my injection appointment?

When you arrive for your appointment, a technician will carry out a few tests to check your eye pressure and vision. They will then administer eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil. You will have some further eye drops before the injections, to numb the surface of the eye and to reduce any infection. Then you will do some diagnostic testing before seeing the doctor. The doctor’s assistant/nurse will clean around the eye with an antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection (please tell the nurse if you are allergic to iodine). You will then have a plastic drape put over your eye and a speculum to keep your eye open during the procedure.

The Injection Procedure

The injection itself is relatively straightforward and should only take a few minutes. It will take place in a specially designed treatment room. You will be asked to sit in a reclining chair while the doctor administers the injection. Although you may feel a slight scratch, it is rarely painful. Immediately after the procedure, you may have the back of your eye checked with a bright light.

What are the Side Effects?

Side effects are possible, but not everyone will experience them. The minor side effects are more common and the major complications are rare.

  • Following the dilating drops, you will experience temporary visual blurring for approximately four hours. Bring sunglasses for your comfort. It is recommended you have someone drive you after your appointment.
  • A slight bleed (hemorrhage) on the surface of the eyeball is possible and will heal within 5-7 days.
  • You may experience small particles or spots in your vision. These usually settle within a few days.
  • Small air bubbles (within the medication) may enter the eye, creating black spots which move around and create shadows in vision. These will disappear in 24-48 hours.
  • Your eye may be teary for a few hours after the injection.
  • Surface irritation is common. This will usually arise the day of the injection and will resolve within 2-3 days. If this occurs, you can ease the pain by using artificial tears, and by keeping your eye closed for comfort.
What happens after my injection?

There are no special precautions. It is safe to continue with work, travel or your usual activities following the intravitreal injections. Please avoid getting water in your eye (you may shower, but make sure you close your eyes and let the water go over), swimming and using eye makeup for the first 5 days. After the injection, you will be prescribed some lubricant eye drops which will be given to you in the clinic. These drops lubricate the eye and will help with any gritty sensation you may feel after the injection, and make you feel more comfortable. You can use the drops three or four times a day, for four days following the injection. You can take your usual pain relief medications to help with any discomfort. Use your regular eye drops as usual.

Important Instructions after Injection

Do not rub your eye. You may wipe your eye very gently with a tissue while your eye is closed. Your eye may be frozen for 1-2 hours post-injection, so it is important not to rub it.

Do not go swimming for 7 days after your injection. Showering is okay, just close your eyes and let the water go over.

You may wish to take artificial tears to sooth your eye following your eye injection.

You must call iCare IMMEDIATELY if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain for a long time
  • A dark shadow across your vision which gets progressively worse
  • Any pus or discharge from the eye
  • A decrease in your vision
  • An increase in new floaters

If any of these symptoms occur, please contact us.

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