Jose Agustin Martinez, MD is a top Ophthalmologist in Austin, Texas where he specializes in retinal disease, He is the President and Managing Partner of Austin Retina Associates which has served Central Texas since 1978. Dr. Martinez has been honored by his peers by his selection to Best Doctors in America and Texas... more
A common treatment used by retina specialist includes injections to the eye commonly called intraocular injections, which sound terrifying to most people. Rest assured, patients typically feel no pain with these injections and leave the office resuming their normal daily activities after their injections. Rest assured, retina specialists are committed to making this experience as pleasant as possible. The only restriction typically recommended afterward is no swimming for 24 hours.
These eye injections are used to manage several common eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease, as well as other less common diseases that can cause macular swelling or abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye.
The injection is routinely performed in the office with a variety of methods used to numb the eye. Those methods depend on the doctor and patient preference.
A key element in preparing the eye is the use of an infection lowering agent called betadine. Studies have proven its use is the most important step in reducing the risk of a rare, sight threatening infection inside the eyeball which occurs in about 1 in 3,000 injections. Rarely, patients have a toxic reaction to the infection-lowering agent known as betadine. On those rare cases we can amend our procedure to reduce associated discomfort that may arise from the betadine.
The actual injection takes a few seconds and is painless.
Some patients do have irritation, burning or discomfort a few hours after the injection. Usually these symptoms can be relieved by rinsing the eye with an eye wash or artificial tears.
Some patients see bubbles, floaters or dark spots in their eye the remainder of the day, which may persist for several days. Do not be alarmed. This is normal. Should a new shower of floaters occur several days afterwards, then contact the office for further assessment.
Rarely, patients may feel pain especially when blinking their eyes the day of the injection or the day after. This is often a due to a scratch on the cornea, which causes lots of tearing, eye redness and increased sensitivity when blinking. This is a self-limited condition that usually improves within 24 hours. Keeping the eye shut often reduces the discomfort.
Sometimes a small blood vessel on the surface of the eye can bleed, causing a beet red spot on the white of the eye that may last a week or two. This occurs in about 1 in 20 injections. It is painless and has no ill effect on your vision. The redness goes away on its own over time.
Our biggest concern is the development of an eye infection involving the inside of the eye which can be very damaging to your vision if not treated promptly. The risk of this is very low, at about 1:3000, and we take every precaution to reduce its incidence.
Should you experience increasingly hazy vision, increasing dull/deep pain, increasing light sensitivity and/or increasing redness especially within a week of your injection, please contact your doctor’s office immediately.
Thankfully, these eye injections are highly effective and have restored vision and reduced vision loss in countless patients.
Rest assured, your experience of intravitreal injections will be smooth and pain free. We, as retina specialists, do everything in our power to get you back to your normal daily routine.