During the past decade, dramatic advances have been made in the therapy of many common retinal conditions by injecting various drugs directly into the eye. This technique is called intraocular (or intravitreal) injection of medications. Variety of retinal diseases are treated by administration of intraocular medications at Retinal Consultants of Orange County.
Intraocular Injections Q & A
What types of eye conditions are treated with intraocular injections?
Intraocular injections are used to treat many eye conditions that involve edema or other types of damage in or near the eye, especially if they affect the macula and retina, macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, and macular edema that’s related to diabetic retinopathy. Many of the conditions treated through the use of intraocular injections don’t respond to other types of treatment simply because the medicine can’t get to the affected area. With intraocular injections, the medication is placed exactly where it’s needed so the patient gets the most benefit.
How’s an intraocular injection given?
When an intraocular injection is given, the eye must be sufficiently prepared prior to the procedure. Eye drops are used to numb the entire surface of the eye, preventing discomfort and allowing the patient to relax. Once the eye drops are in place, an iodine solution is applied to the surface of the eye to clean and disinfect the area. Iodine is used to reduce the risk of infection and eliminate any dust and debris that may be present. A small needle is used to dispense the medication. The injection is given in the sclera or white portion of the eye as close to the front of the eye as possible. The doctor places the injection in the area that gives him the most exposure to the damaged portion of the eye.
Do intraocular injections have risks?
Every procedure that results in the body being penetrated in some way carries risk. The intraocular injection is no different. There’s a small risk of infection that’s dramatically reduced through the use of iodine. In some cases, there may be mild irritation to the surface or cornea of the eye near the injection site. Bleeding near the site of the injection may also occur but this is rarely a problem. An infection is a main concern, but the doctor takes every possible precaution to ensure that the potential risks are as minimal as possible. Patients may experience a mild reaction to the medication being used, but this is also rare.