There are certain eye conditions where an injection into your eye might be recommended.
Injections into the eye, specifically into the vitreous or gel-filled cavity of the eye, are called intravitreal injections.
In Part 1 of "You Want to Do WHAT to My Eye?" we talked mostly about anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) injections. Anti-VEGF injections are probably the most commonly injected agents and they are used to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion.
But there are other injections that may be used as treatment.
Another injected medication used in combination with Anti-VEGF agents to treat wet macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion are steroids. Additionally, steroids can be used to treat inflammation, or uveitis, in the eye. There is a steroid implant called Ozurdex, that looks like a white pellet and can last up to 3 months in the eye. The downside of steroids is that they can increase eye pressure and cause progression of cataracts.
Antibiotics are another type of medication that can be injected into the eye. Sometimes an infection called endophthalmitis can develop inside the eye. This can occur after eye surgery or a penetrating injury to the eye. The presenting signs and symptoms of endophthalmitis are loss of vision, eye pain and redness of the eye. Bacteria is usually the cause of the infection, and antibiotics are the treatment. The best way to deliver the antibiotics is to inject them directly into the eye.
Another relatively new injection is Jetrea, an enzyme that breaks down the vitreous adhesions that may develop on the surface of the retina. As we age, the vitreous contracts away from the retinal surface. When this occurs over the macula, the region responsible for fine vision, the result is visual distortion. Jetrea is an injection that will dissolve the vitreous adhesions and relieve the traction on the retina. Prior to the advent of Jetrea, the only treatment would have been surgery to physically remove the vitreous jelly and traction on the retina.
The next time you visit your eye doctor and are told you need an injection of medication, it will likely be one of the above agents.
Article contributed by Dr. Jane Pan