What are Intravitreal Steroids?
Intravitreal steroids are anti-inflammatory medications that are placed into the center of the eyeball, which is known as the vitreous cavity, to help reduce swelling, improve vision, and alleviate eye pain in patients with certain inflammatory eye conditions.
How do Intravitreal Steroids work?
Intravitreal steroids contain biologically active compounds that mimic the action of hormones secreted by your adrenal glands, which have an inhibitory effect on the immune system thereby reducing the signs and symptoms of certain inflammatory eye conditions.
Indications for Intravitreal Steroids
Intravitreal steroids treatments are indicated when swelling and inflammation is likely to cause physical damage to the anatomical structures within the eye in conditions such as:
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinal vein occlusion
- Non-infectious Uveitis
Types of Intravitreal Steroids
The steroid medications which are considered safe and effective for the treatment of inflammatory eye conditions are:
- Ozurdex, an intravitreal implant containing the steroid dexamethasone
- IIuvien, an intravitreal implant containing the steroid fluocinolone acetonide
Preparation for Intravitreal Steroid Treatment
You must inform your doctor about:
- Medications or vitamins you are currently taking as certain medications may interact with the steroid to cause eye problems
- Allergies to medications
- Health conditions such as uncontrolled hypertension or eye infections
Intravitreal Steroid Treatment Procedure
The intravitreal steroid treatment procedure involves the following steps:
- You will be seated in a comfortable semi-reclined position in a chair.
- Your eye will be cleaned to prevent infection.
- Your face and the area around the eye will be draped to maintain sterile conditions.
- Pain-relieving eye drops will be administered to numb the eye.
- A device may be placed to keep your eyelids open.
- The injection is administered into the white portion of your eyeball which is known as the sclera. It takes 15-20 seconds and most patients may feel slight pressure, but no pain.
- Your eyesight will be assessed post-injection and antibiotic drops may be administered, after which the drapes are removed.
Post-Operative Care after Intravitreal Steroid Treatment
- You may be provided with antibiotic eye drops that you should use for 3-4 days to prevent infection.
- Avoid swimming or getting water into your eyes for a couple of days after the injection.
- There may be slight discomfort, redness, and ‘floaters’ in the eye which will go away in a few days.
Risks of Intravitreal Steroid Treatment
Intravitreal Steroid Treatment are very safe however there is a minimal risk of complications that include:
- Eye infection
- Increased eye pressure
- Cataract formation
- Detachment of the retina
Benefits of Intravitreal Steroid Treatment
Timely treatment with intravitreal steroid treatment can improve detailed vision making it easier for patients with certain eye conditions to read, watch TV, and recognize faces.