Eye drops are the go-to means of administering medicine into the eyes to address different eye problems. However, they are ineffective against problems affecting the retina at the back of the eye. Intravitreal injections are the ideal treatments for patients experiencing retinal problems, such as macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, and diabetic retinopathy.

What are intravitreal injections?

Intravitreal injections, also known as eye injections or intraocular injections, treat numerous retinal problems. An intravitreal injection delivers specific medications into the gel-filled part of the inner eye. Injections are necessary because traditional eye drops can’t reach the retina, which is located at the back of the eye.

Intravitreal injections can treat numerous retinal conditions, such as wet macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, diabetic retinopathy, and more. If left untreated, some of these conditions can also lead to blindness. It’s a simple and painless procedure that concludes within 10 seconds.

What are the medications used in intravitreal injections?

  • Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (Anti-VEGF) might prevent the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which could lead to bleeding, fluid leakage, and increased eye pressure.
  • Steroids might be used to treat inflammatory conditions.
  • Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, or anti-viral medications might be used to treat infections.
older woman's eye

How are intravitreal injections performed?

Intravitreal injections are performed as simple, in-office, and outpatient procedures. After you sit in a reclining chair, the retinal specialist places anesthetic eye drops or ointments in your eyes to ensure comfort. The retina doctor covers the eyelashes and cleans the injection site with a mild betadine solution.

An ultra-fine needle is used to deliver the chosen medicine into the gel-filled center of your eye. You might feel a little pressure, but there’s no pain or discomfort, and the needle doesn’t leave any scars or marks. The retina specialist washes off the betadine solution with a mild saline solution, and you can resume your daily activities.

woman's eye

What happens after intravitreal injections?

You might feel mild irritation and discomfort in your eyes for a few hours as the anesthesia wears off. Your eyes might feel scratchy, gritty, or achy. However, you can control the discomfort with over-the-counter pain medications, like Tylenol. You may have an urge to rub your eyes, but you must resist that impulse because you might scratch the surface of your eye. You can resume most of your daily activities immediately.

What are the risks of intravitreal injections?

Intravitreal injections are completely safe, and most patients don’t experience any complications. In rare cases, patients may experience conjunctival hemorrhage, i.e., mild bleeding on the white part of the eye. However, this is a small bruise that clears up within a week, and it’s not dangerous.

How many intravitreal injections will I need?

The effects of intravitreal injections usually last for 4 to 8 weeks, following which you need to repeat the treatment. However, the specific number of treatments necessary depends on your unique condition and the medications used for the injection. Your retinal specialist will curate the ideal treatment plan for you.

Schedule your intravitreal injections in Bakersfield

At West Coast Eye Institute, our Harvard-trained retina specialists carefully examine your eyes, run eye exams, and curate the ideal treatment plans for you. We understand that no two eyes are the same, so all treatments should be personalized according to your unique goals and conditions. Please schedule an appointment to explore your intravitreal injection options in Bakersfield, CA.