Intravitreal Eye Injections

What Are Intravitreal Eye Injections?

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. The inside of your eye is filled with vitreous, a jelly-like fluid. Your ophthalmologist will inject medicine into the vitreous found at the back of the eye near the retina.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Your eye doctor will determine which of the three anti-VEGF drugs are the best treatment for your condition: bevacizumab, ranibizumab or aflibercept. You’ll receive your intravitreal eye injections at the ophthalmologist’s office, and the procedure will take between 15 and 30 minutes. The doctor will dilate your pupils, use topical anesthesia and place a speculum in your eye to administer the intravitreal eye injection.

The goal of intravitreal eye injections is to protect and hopefully improve your vision. Patients are often concerned that intravitreal eye injections will be painful or scary. You may feel pressure during the procedure, but not pain.

After the first or second procedure, patients generally feel more at ease and are motivated by the fact that they often see improvement of their visual acuity very soon.

After Your Intravitreal Injection

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. However, if you experience severe pain or vision problems following your anti-VEGF injection, this can be a sign of an infection or increased pressure in the eye and you should consult your ophthalmologist right away.

There are patients who will only need a few years of intravitreal injections, but some patients need lifelong treatment. How many treatments you need and how beneficial they are depend on your eye condition and eye health.

Talk to your ophthalmologist if you want more information about intravitreal eye injections.

3 Important Things to Remember

  1. 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. Following an intravitreal injection, pressure or grittiness in the eye, slight bleeding on the white of the eye and floaters in your vision are temporary and normal.
  3. If you experience severe pain or vision problems following your anti-VEGF injection, this can be a sign of an infection or increased pressure in the eye and you should consult your ophthalmologist right away.