Patients may also have a foreign body sensation in the injection eye. This may be a side effect to the betadine that is placed in the eye to clean it prior to the injection. Your retina specialist may recommend you use artificial tears for the remainder of the day to ease any surface irritation.
What Are the Risks Of An Eye Injection?
As with any procedure, it is important to know and understand the risk factors associated with intravitreal injections. Although severe complications are uncommon, the major risks to intravitreal injections include:
- Infection in the eye (endophthalmitis)
- Inflammation in the eye (uveitis)
- Vitreous hemorrhage – bleeding into the vitreous gel
- Retinal detachments
Of these adverse events, infection in the eye is the most serious. Symptoms of an infection include worsening pain and vision 1-7 days after an injection. Thankfully, the risk of infection from an eye injection is less than one in 5,000 procedures. In the event of an infection, a patient will receive additional injections of broad-spectrum antibiotics and sometimes surgery to prevent further damage to the eye.
The surface of the eye may also show signs of bleeding at the injection site where the needle enters the eye. This is known as subconjunctival hemorrhage. This side effect will typically go away without intervention within a week. Intraocular pressure may temporarily rise in the eye after an injection is completed. This intraocular pressure will be monitored in the office using a pressure-measurement device until the pressure normalizes.
How Many Injections Will I Need?
Depending on your specific retinal condition, a series of injections may be necessary to better manage your diagnosis. Once a comprehensive eye exam is completed and a retinal condition requiring intravitreal injections has been identified, you and your retina specialist can begin discussing injection intervals. Typically, once an injection has been given for the first time, the patient will be instructed to return to the clinic in 4 – 6 weeks to undergo repeat diagnostic testing. This testing may include ocular coherence tomography (OCT) and/or fluorescein angiography (FA). The use of these diagnostic tools will allow your retinal specialist to better assess how you responded to an intravitreal injection. Using this information, your retina specialist can guide you towards a correct treatment plan.