Understanding Intravitreal Injections

“Intra” means “inside.” An intravitreal injection is an injection into the jelly-like substance inside the eye called the vitreous. These injections are used to deliver medicine to the retina and other structures at the back of the eye. By putting the medicine directly into the eye, there are limited effects on the rest of the body. Intravitreal injections are used daily by retina specialists and complications are rare.

Common conditions treated with intravitreal injections include:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Macular degeneration
  • Macular edema
  • Retinal vein occlusions
  • Ocular inflammation

Drugs such as Lucentis, Avastin, Eylea, and triamcinolone can be injected to help patients maintain vision and keep vision loss to a minimum. Some patients may also see an improvement in their vision.

Intravitreal injections are especially effective in treating wet age-related macular degeneration, which, although less common than the dry form, accounts for more than 90% of blindness caused by the disease.

What to Expect

Intravitreal injections are done on an outpatient basis as often as once a month, depending upon the condition being treated. Numbing drops are used, and while you may feel slight pressure, you should feel no pain. You may have a gritty feeling in the eye after the injection, some bleeding over the white of the eye, and/or floaters, which disappear over a couple of days. You should be examined one to two months after your injection.