An intravitreal injection is an in-office procedure in which a medication is injected into the vitreous cavity of the eye. Patients will not typically feel any sharp pain associated with the intravitreal injection procedure. However, it is normal to feel a significant amount of pressure being placed on the eye.
Patients may or may not see a rod shaped floater at the top of their vision that is most prominent when laying on their backs. This is the iluvien implant. It will typically settle to the bottom of the eye and no longer be apparent in the vision after several days.
Betadine is a topical antiseptic that is used during the procedure to decrease the risk of infection. It does not hurt at first, but can cause significant irritation after the procedure, sometimes making it difficult to open the eye. This irritation will usually resolve on its own within a day.
Redness commonly occurs after the injection where the needle entered the eye. In some cases, the entire eye will become very red. The redness will resolve without additional treatment within 1-2 weeks and cause no permanent harm to the vision.
The eye is typically sore after the injection, but usually feels much better by the following day.
If the vision goes black immediately after the injection, this could be a sign that the eye pressure is too high. The vision will usually return on its own within a minute. However, this does require immediate attention from your doctor.
Patients who are experiencing a burning sensation immediately after the eye injection should make the staff aware.
Patients who experience a burning sensation after leaving the office may consider using preservative free artificial tear every 1 hour as needed for discomfort. It is important they wash their hands with soap and water and avoid touching their eye lashes.
The main risk of the procedure is the development of an infection called endophthalmitis. Fortunately, the risk of this infection is very low, occurring in approximately 1 in 3000 injections. The signs of infection are eye pain, sensitivity to light, and decreased vision. If it occurs, it typically occurs 3-5 days following the treatment, but may occur earlier or later. Patients with these symptoms need to contact their eye care specialist immediately. Patients can decrease their risk of developing an infection by avoiding rubbing, touching their eyes, or allowing water into their eyes for at least one week.
Most patients undergoing intravitreal injections find that the procedure is much more comfortable than anticipated and that the post-procedure discomfort is minimal.