Intravitreal Eye Injection Treatment

This information will help you get ready or your intravitreal eye injection (shot) treatment. It’ll help you know what to expect before, during, and after your treatment.

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About Intravitreal Eye Injection Treatment

An intravitreal injection is a shot of medication into your eye using a tiny needle. The inside of your eye is filled with vitreous humor (gel-like fluid). Your healthcare provider will inject the medicine through the wall of your eye into the vitreous humor.

The medicine your healthcare provider will use depends on your diagnosis and the amount of treatment you need.

Intravitreal injections are used to treat many eye problems, such as:

  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Wet macular degeneration (eye disorder caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the center of your eye)
  • Diabetic retinopathy (disease of your retina that affects your vision)
  • High intraocular pressure (pressure in your eye that’s higher than normal)
  • Some eye cancers

You may need to have this treatment done during more than one visit. Your healthcare provider will let you know how often you’ll need to come in for future injections.

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Before Your Treatment

You don’t need to do anything to get ready for your treatment. If you wear contact lenses, you can wear them to your appointment, but you’ll have to remove them before your treatment. You should also bring back up glasses to treatment.

You can eat and take usual medications the morning of your treatment.

When you arrive

On the day of your treatment, you’ll come to our office and check in at the front desk. A technician will bring you into a testing room to take pictures of your eyes.

Then you’ll go into the procedure room where your nurse will review a consent form with you and ask for your signature. Your nurse will ask you questions about your vision and check your eyes to find out how well you see. They will then put eye drops in your eyes to make your pupils dilate (become wider). These drops may make your vision blurry and cause some sensitivity to light.

Your nurse will also put two different numbing drops and a numbing gel on your eye. This may feel a little sticky. The second drop may cause slight burning, that’ll go away within seconds.

Your healthcare team can play music for you to help you relax during your procedure. You can also play music on your phone.

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During Your Treatment

You’ll stay in the same room for your treatment. Your healthcare provider will check your eyes and review the pictures of your eyes with you.

Your healthcare provider will lower your exam chair into a reclined position so you’re leaning back in your chair. They’ll wash your eye and eyelid with a cleaning solution.

Your healthcare provider will place a plastic drape with a cut out for your eye over your face. Only the eye on which you’ll be having your treatment will be exposed.

They’ll put another drop in your eye to clean it. They will then place an eyelid holder on your eye to help keep your eye open during the procedure. You won’t feel any pain, but you may feel some pressure when the eyelid holder is placed. You can blink but do not squeeze your eyelids shut during your procedure.

Your healthcare provider will ask you to focus on an object in the room to position your eye. They may ask you to focus on one of your shoulders.

Once your eye is in the right position, your healthcare provider will inject the medication into your eye. You may feel some pressure and a slight pinch.

After the injection, your nurse will remove the plastic drape from your face and your healthcare provider will check your eye. Your nurse will clean your eye. You won’t need to wear a patch over your eye after your treatment.

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After Your Treatment

You’ll be given a sheet of paper to take to the front desk. You’ll then schedule your follow-up appointment, next injection, or both. You can leave right after your treatment or sit in the waiting room for a few minutes, if you prefer.

If you wear contact lenses, you should not put your contact lens on your treated eye. You can start wearing them the day after your injection.

Arrange for someone to take you home

Your vision may be slightly blurry from the dilation and you may need a driver to take you home after your treatment.

Side effects after your treatment

After your intravitreal injection, you may have the following side effects:

  • Your eyesight may be blurry, and it may be hard to focus on objects close to you. This is because of the eyedrops you received during your treatment.
  • You may feel some pressure in your eye.
  • Your eye may feel gritty or like you have sand in your eye.
  • You may feel a slight burning feeling in your eye as the numbing medication wears off.
  • You may see a small amount of blood at the site of the injection. This will make the white part of your eye look red.
  • You may see floaters (spots that look like black or gray specks or strings) in your vision. You may also see some dark spots in your peripheral (side) vision.

Don’t rub your eyes for 2 days after your treatment. Your healthcare provider may prescribe you moisturizing drops, such as Refresh®, Systane® (Regular or Ultra), or GenTeal®) to help relieve some of these side effects. They should go away about 2 to 3 days after your treatment.

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When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider

Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • Pain that doesn’t get better with acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
  • Decreased vision or loss of vision
  • Any redness or swelling around your eye
  • Increased flashes of light in your eye
  • Nausea (feeling like you’re going to throw up)
  • Vomiting (throwing up)

If you have questions or concerns, contact your ophthalmology team. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at 212-639-7266 or in your patient portal.

You can reach the ophthalmology provider on call after 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and holidays at 212-639-2000.

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