Eye drops and pills work well for many conditions affecting the eye, especially for treating problems affecting the surface of the eye. For many diseases affecting the eye’s retina, though, injection is the only way to get medication where it needs to go.
The retina is a thin layer of tissue lining the backside of the interior of the eye. Light enters the eye, carrying visual information about the outside world, and strikes the retina. Light-sensitive cells in the retina absorb the light and the information it carries. The retina translates the visual information into electrical impulses, which move to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain then converts the electrical signals into the visual images we perceive.
A healthy retina does a good job of absorbing light and translating information into electrical signals the brain can understand. Retinal diseases, such as macular degeneration, prevent the retina from doing its job. Treatment can slow the progression of retinal diseases, but pills and eye drops do not deliver enough of the medication to the retina to be effective. Retina injections are often the most effective and safest way to treat diseases of the retina.
Patients often ask if retina injections hurt, and are relieved to find out that they do not. Prior to the injection, the eye doctor will numb your eye with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort and clean the surface of the eye to reduce the risk of infection. While the injection itself does not hurt, the antiseptic used to clean the eye causes a slight burning sensation. The eye doctor will then introduce the medication through a very tiny needle through the sclera, which is the white part at the front of the eye.
Retina injections are safe and effective; infections and other complications are rare. Be sure to discuss your risk for side effects with your eye doctor.
The eye care professionals at Illinois Eye Center have many years’ experience performing retina injections. We are proud to announce that we are now offering retina injections in our new Pekin office!