Many retinal diseases require an injection in the eye. Injections are the most efficient way to treat diseases such as macular degeneration, macular edema and non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy. An intravitreal injection allows us to introduce a medicine in the eye where it can reach the retina quickly and with minimal systemic side effects. Before the procedure, a technician will sterilize the eye with iodine solution and numb the eye with topical eye drops and lidocaine jelly. The doctor will then deliver the medication to the eye using a very small and thin needle. The procedure only takes a few minutes. After the procedure some discomfort and tearing may be common. Artificial tears which can be purchased over- the- counter are recommended for a few days following the injection to help with the mild discomfort. Below are some of the common medications that are injected into the eye.
Avastin® is the brand name for bevacizumab, a drug injected into the eye to slow vision loss in people who have “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Avastin is part of a class of drugs that block the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which is the cause of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Avastin is also used in some cases to treat macular edema, or swelling of the macula, often associated with diabetic retinopathy.
Lucentis® is the brand name for ranibizumab, a drug injected into the eye to slow vision loss in people who have “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Lucentis is part of a class of drugs that block the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which is the cause of wet AMD. Lucentis was designed specifically as a treatment for wet AMD.
Eylea® is the brand name for aflibercept. Similar to Avastin and Lucentis, Eylea is part of a class of drugs that inhibits the growth of abnormal blood vessels responsible for wet AMD.
Steroid Injection therapy is also being used to treat macular edema in conjunction with above medications. Steroids may reduce diabetic macular edema through a variety of complex anti-inflammatory pathways.