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A shot in the eye? Intravitreal Injections, What are They?

Created on: Friday, September 01, 2017

There has been a lot of buzz at Milwaukee Eye Care Associates recently about new treatments for conditions such as wet macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and macular edema. The use of intravitreal injections has become more commonplace in recent years and are providing help for conditions that we previously had little success treating.

Intravitreal literally means "into the vitreous humor of the eye", and that is how these medications are administered. The injection is placed directly into the gel that fills the interior of the eye, directly adjacent to the retina, in order to treat the problem.  This allows the medication to reach the back of the eye in a concentration high enough to be effective, unlike an eye drop which would have to penetrate the eye and then travel all the way to the back section of the eye. 

Currently there are 4 different medications that are available: Macugen, Lucentis, Avastin and Eylea. They are in class of drugs called Anti-VEGF(Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor). They work by stopping abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye and reducing the swelling or leakage from these abnormal vessels. This in turn reduces scar production and retinal damage, improving the likelihood of vision recovery. Of course, visual outcome depends on the situation and severity of the condition being treated.

Yes, it sounds odd getting an injection directly into the eye, but it is very safe, done in your Ophthalmologist's office. The procedure takes only a few minutes, most of which is prep time, numbing the eye beforehand. People almost always say it wasn't nearly as bad as they'd expected!

Written by Bart W., Technician with Milwaukee Eye Care Associates

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