Intravitreal Injections: Avastin, Eylea, Lucentis, SYFOVRE
Intravitreal injections are used to treat a wide range of retinal diseases. Using a very fine needle, medication is injected through your sclera (the white part of your eye) into the vitreous (the thick, gel-like inside of your eye) to improve and stabilize your vision.
Intravitreal injections are in-office procedures that can be performed with local anesthesia, and sound much scarier than they really are. There’s little to no pain, just some mild pressure—so don’t worry!
More importantly, these injections are the result of years of research and represent some of the most advanced treatments for vision available. They are often more effective than laser and surgery, and frequently provide a path forward for conditions that might otherwise be untreatable.
What Is an Intravitreal Injection?
An intravitreal or ocular injection is a procedure to place a medication directly into the space in the back of the eye called the vitreous cavity, which is filled with a jelly-like fluid called the vitreous humor gel. The injection procedure will be performed in our clinic, during your appointment, by your trained Colorado Retina physician.
Injections Fact Sheet
Download the following document to learn more about injections.
What Are Intravitreal Injections Used For?
Intravitreal injections are used to administer medications to treat a variety of retinal conditions. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion are the most common conditions treated with intravitreal anti-VEGF drugs. Intravitreal steroids are used in some eyes with diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion and uveitis. The anti-VEGF drugs and steroids help to reduce fluid leakage associated with these disorders. Antibiotic, anti-fungal and antiviral drugs are also used to treat patients with infections in the eye such as endophthalmitis and retinitis. In some cases, an injection is used to insert a small gas bubble to aid repair of a retinal detachment.
What Kind of Drugs Can Be Given by Intravitreal Injection?
- Anti-VEGF drugs
- Steroids, which reduce inflammation
- Antibiotics, antiviral and antifungal medications
When Are Intravitreal Injections Recommended?
Intravitreal injections are typically recommended to stop neovascularization, which is when a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) creates abnormal blood vessels in your retina. These blood vessels can leak fluid and blood, which can damage your macula and lead to vision loss.
There are a number of conditions in which neovascularization plays a role:
- Wet age-related macular degeneration
- Proliferative diabetic retinopathy
- Retinal artery occlusion and vein occlusion
- Macular edema
What Are Avastin, Eylea, Lucentis, and SYFOVRE Injections?
Avastin, Eylea, Lucentis, and SYFOVRE are well-known anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medications. These medications work by blocking the protein responsible for abnormal blood vessel formation.
- Avastin injections are frequently used to treat age-related macular degeneration and macular edema by inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels that may cause vision problems.
- Eylea injections are used to treat macular degeneration and similar retinal conditions, but rather than blocking the VEGF protein itself, they stop the receptors for the VEGF molecule.
- Lucentis injections also block VEGF and have been proven to improve outcomes for a wide range of retinal and macular diseases.
- SYFOVRE (pegcetacoplan injection) is indicated for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This medication treats the advanced form of dry MD. SYFOVRE works by regulating the overactivated part of the immune system in the eye. This overactivation can contribute to the progression of GA. Learn More.
Additional medications that can be used to treat retinal conditions with intravitreal injections include antifungals, steroids, and antibiotics.
The Injection Process
Intravitreal injections are performed in our office. While reclined in an exam room chair, the eye and eyelids are anesthetized using drops or gel so the injection doesn’t hurt. Sometimes a small numbing injection may be given. The eye and the eyelids are then cleaned, usually using povidone-iodine, a yellow solution which is very effective at killing bacteria that live around the eye.
An eyelid speculum is often used to keep the eyelids open during the procedure. Once the eye is prepped for injection, you will be asked to look in a particular direction depending on the location of the injection while the medicine is injected through the pars plana (the white part of the eye) with a very small needle. Typically, patients feel pressure, with little or no pain during the injection. After the injection, the speculum is removed, and the eye is cleaned.
Schedule a Consultation for Intravitreal Injections in Any of Our Colorado Locations
We want your eyes to be as healthy as they possibly can be. Our retinal specialists are here to help and answer any questions you might have. Schedule an appointment today.