What are intravitreal injections?

Intravitreal injections are used to administer medications to treat a variety of retinal conditions. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion are the most common conditions treated with intravitreal anti-VEGF drugs.

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Dr. Michael Kapusta, MD, FRCSC, Ophthalmologist, discusses what intravitreal eye injections are effective for when treating certain eye diseases linked to vision loss.

Quiz: Do You Understand Intravitreal Eye Injection Treatments?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

People with age-related macular degeneration may benefit from intravitreal eye injections.

Explanation:
Intravitreal eye injections of anti-VEGF medications may be used to treat diabetic macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, branch or central vein occlusion and age-related macular degeneration.
2

The three types of anti-VEGF drugs are bevacizumab, ranibizumab and aflibercept.

Explanation:
Your eye doctor will determine which of the three anti-VEGF drugs are the best treatment for your condition: bevacizumab, ranibizumab or aflibercept
3

Intravitreal eye injections are an outpatient procedure at the hospital.

Explanation:
You’ll receive your intravitreal eye injections at the ophthalmologist’s office, and the procedure will take between 15 and 30 minutes.
4

Intravitreal eye injections are quite painful.

Explanation:
Patients are often concerned that an injection of material into their eye will be a painful or scary procedure. In fact, after the first or second injection, patients become quite at ease with the idea that they will have these injections,
5

Slight bleeding on the white of the eye is normal after an intravitreal injection.

Explanation:
Following an intravitreal injection, you may feel pressure or grittiness in the eye, slight bleeding on the white of the eye and floaters in your vision. These are temporary and normal.
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Dr. Amit Gupta, MD, FACS, Ophthalmologist, talks about how often and how long intravitreal injections are typically needed.

Dr. Amit Gupta, MD, FACS, Ophthalmologist, talks about safety and the low risks associated with intravitreal injections.

Intravitreal Eye Injection Treatments

Patients are often required to have intravitreal eye injections of anti-VEGF medications in order to treat diabetic macular edema, vein occlusion – either branch or central vein occlusion, or age-related macular degeneration.

There are three products that are used, and it is best that your surgeon determines which one will work best in your case. These drugs are injected in the office setting, with the patient having some topical anaesthesia, a speculum placed in their eye, and the drug placed into their eye by the doctor. Local Ophthalmologist 

Patients who require intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF medication will learn that there are three basic drugs that are used at this point in time. One is bevacizumab, another is ranibizumab, and the third, by timeline, is aflibercept.

All three drugs are potent and effective. These three drugs have different capacities, and may be more indicated in a particular patient’s disease state. Your doctor will be the best person to determine which of these drugs most suits your needs.

Patients are often concerned that an injection of material into their eye will be a painful or scary procedure. In fact, after the first or second injection, patients become quite at ease with the idea that they will have these injections, and they are motivated by the fact that they do often see improvement of their visual acuity very quickly after these injections are started. Local Ophthalmologist 

When we as a retina community began to inject patients for diabetes, vein occlusion and macular degeneration, we thought this would be a one- or two-year process. The studies in fact were 24 months. Over time we’ve learned that in some cases we need to extend that period to many years. There are patients who will only need a few years of treatment, but many patients need lifelong monitoring, and in some cases, lifelong treatment with intravitreal injections.

Presenter: Dr. Michael Kapusta, Ophthalmologist, Montreal, QC

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How Often Are Intravitreal Injections Needed?

In regards to the frequency of Intravitreal Injections?  and length of treatment, initially, the treatments start out being monthly. And over time, as your eye does better, the doctor will observe what’s going on and extend the treatment.

There may come a time when the treatments slow down, or you may not need treatment for months at a time. But because of diabetes being there in your body, because the sugars are high, the treatments will be ongoing, sooner rather than later.

And so you need at least regular eye exams, which will be determined by the severity of the disease and what the doctor’s observing in the eye. As the treatment improves and your sugar improves, a question will come up that why am I still getting treatments, if I’m seeing well and my sugars are under control?

The answer is: this is from damage that was done years ago. And even if your sugars are under good control, your sugars are not that of a totally normal, non-diabetic person. Damage is ongoing, and as such you will require at least continuous monitoring, and treatment as needed based on that monitoring.

For more information, talk to your eye doctor, who will guide you on the treatment process. Now Health Network

Healthy eyes depend on regular visits to your optometrist for eye exams, and if necessary, an ophthalmologist for certain eye conditions and surgeries like diabetic retinopathy . You can also protect your eyesight with proper nutrition, eating foods that contain the right vitaminsLocal Optometrists may prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, provide laser eye surgery consultations, and test for diseases.  Local Ophthalmologist  can help with many facts of eye diseases. Getting a referral from your optometrist to a local ophthalmologist is crucial to eye care.

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