When you need medication to treat a retinal disease — often to prevent vision loss or blindness — intraocular injections ensure that the full dose of medication is delivered to the site of the problem. Dr. Jeevan Mathura and Dr. Lindsay Smithen at Retina & Macular Disease Specialists are exactly that — specialists at administering intraocular injections for diseases of the retina. If you have a eye disease and would like expert help, call their office in Arlington, Virginia, or book an appointment online.
When treating retinal diseases, an intraocular injection, or injection directly into the eye, is the best way to place medication exactly where it’s needed and to deliver the optimal dose of medication.
Eye drops aren’t reliable for treating retinal diseases because only a small percentage of the medication reaches the retina. Oral medications have a similar problem. Drugs in your bloodstream have limited access to the retina because they have to pass through barriers in the layer of tissue attached to the retina.
This means that when medications are needed to treat a retinal disease and to prevent serious complications like vision loss, intraocular injections provide a dependable form of delivery.
Two types of medications are currently injected into the eye, although the list continues to grow. The two groups target specific types of eye diseases:
Anti-VEGF medicines reduce new blood vessel growth. This is important because these new vessels are abnormal and leak fluids into and under structures in your eye, which leads to edema, excessive pressure, scarring, and irreversible damage of structures responsible for your vision like the retina.
Examples of eye diseases that may be treated with an intraocular injection of anti-VEGF medications include:
Steroid injections effectively reduce inflammation and swelling, so they’re used for inflammatory eye diseases. They may be injected to treat the same retinal and macular eye diseases as those that benefit from anti-VEGF medication. Intraocular injections of corticosteroids also treat various inflammatory diseases inside the eye.
It’s understandable to be apprehensive about an eye injection, but the procedure is quick and your eye is anesthetized, so you’ll be comfortable. Medicated eye drops are used to numb your eye, then the eye is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and the intraocular injection is administered using a fine, short needle.
Redness at the site of the injection is normal and may last up to two weeks. You may feel a gravelly or burning sensation or have blurry vision, but they should all clear up by the next day. Finally, you may experience floaters that disappear in a few days.