Injections

Over the past decade, injections into the eye have become a common treatment option for several retinal conditions.  The most common injections are listed below.

Avastin/Lucentis

Avastin and Lucentis are sister medications and are both manufactured by Genentech.    Avastin and Lucentis injections are primarily used to target ‘wet’ AMD (age-related macular degeneration), although they may also be used off-label for to reduce macular edema due to retinal vein occlusions and to treat proliferative diabetic retinopathy.  When a medication is used ‘off-label,’ this means that the FDA has not approved the medication for that specific purpose.  Avastin was used as an off-label medication for the treatment of wet AMD for several years.

Avastin and Lucentis injections are typically repeated every 6 to 12 weeks for patients with wet AMD.  If test results indicate that a patient’s wet AMD is not progressing, your retinal specialist may choose to skip a scheduled injection.

The medication is injection directly into the eye after a topical numbing drop is applied to the eye.   The injection is typically described as ‘uncomfortable but not painful.’

Kenalog/Triesence

Kenalog is a generic steroid, while Triesence is a branded steroid manufactured by Alcon.  Kenalog has been used for decades as an off-label treatment to reduce macular edema (swelling of the retina) caused by diabetes, retinal vein occlusions, the aging process or other reasons.  An intraocular steroid injection can occasionally increase the pressure inside the eye to unsafe levels, so your ophthalmologist may request that return for a visit in a few days.  Like with systemic conditions, the steroid addresses the symptom by reducing the swelling, but it does not address the cause of the swelling.  Consequently, repeated injections may be necessary.

The medication is injection directly into the eye after a topical numbing drop is applied to the eye.   The injection is typically described as ‘uncomfortable but not painful.’

Ozurdex

Ozurdex is a medication approved by the FDA in 2010 to treat macular edema (swelling of the retina) caused by central retinal vein occlusions or branch retinal vein occlusions.   Ozurdex is also approved to treat non-infectious uveitis.  The cost of the Ozurdex medicine in quite expensive (over $1,000 from the manufacturer), but the medication provided good results in clinical trials and for the patients in our practice who have received the injection.

The medication is injection directly into the eye after a topical numbing drop is applied to the eye.   The injection is typically described as ‘uncomfortable but not painful.’

Pneumatic retinopexy

Instead of injecting medicine into your eye, a pneumatic retinopexy involves injected gas into the back of your eye.  The gas is typically used to flatten the retina against the wall of the eye, and the goal is for the retina to naturally seal itself to the wall of the eye.  However, your surgeon may also use a laser procedure to attach the retina to the wall of the eye.  The gas from the pneumatic retinopexy eventually dissipates through the normal functioning of the eye.