This page is written by a patient for the purpose of alleviating other patient's fears and concerns associated with the needle injection in the eye, retina treatment.
Description includes what happens before, during, and after the procedure; as well as what to expect the next day or two afterward. This is a patient's description and does not give medical advice, though things the doctors office said are reported and a couple of government website resources are included.
This was a whole new experience for me and as a side note, I had no idea what to expect; so I decided to get the grocery trip and all the chores done beforehand. Turned out to be the wise thing to do. You are not really going to feel like doing much of anything for the first couple of days afterward.
Wet Macular Degeneration and the Needle in the Eye Injection Treatment; Overall Procedure Description; After Effects
As a patient, I just had this done to me February 2018 (now includes updates from my March 2018 treatment,). Here is a description of the actual treatment, procedures involved, and the experiences before, during, and after. These are my own, personal experiences; your results may vary. It should also be mentioned there are needle-in-the-eye, retina injection treatments for diseases other than AMD and different stages of AMD and also there are different medicines that are used; so what the retina specialist informs/instructs you may be different than what the retina specialist informed/instructed me.
The Actual Eye Needle InjectionSince the purpose of this page is to eliminate as soon as possible the dread concerning what you are wondering will happen and the expected pain involved, am starting with the description of the needle retina injection first. It is good news.
- Sedatives may have been offered to you earlier.
- You will sit down in a somewhat reclining chair.
- A very small needle will be injected in probably a hand vein, purpose being to inject a dye to assist the doctor when viewing your eye(s) yet again. It was barely a pinprick, over within just a few seconds.
- The doctor will inform you he will not be putting the needle in your eye until he is actually ready to do so. In other words, you don't have to sit/lie there wondering when it is going to happen.
- Yet more eye drops will be put in your eye(s) and the doctor will be looking into your eyes with bright lights yet again.
- There will be a burning feeling in your eyes. The burning will get worse; but then subsides.
- Your eyes will be watering all over the place, don't worry about it.
- The doctor and assistant will be wearing surgical masks. No one is supposed to do any unnecessary talking, including you
- The doctor will place a small device on your eye, purpose being so you don't blink during or immediately after the injection.
- The doctor will inform you he is ready to make the injection and will instruct you to look in a certain direction and to concentrate on looking in that direction.
- By now, the eye drops have made your eye totally numb.
- The injection will be in the side of the eye, not the front.
- You won't see the needle.
- You won't feel the needle.
- The needle will be in and out before you even know what happened.
- The hole the needle created seals itself immediately.
So basically, there's discomfort during the process, but you don't have to be concerned as to the pain aspect. The bark of the concept is worse than the bite of the actual event. Speaking of discomfort, there will be some of that before and after the injection as well. What follows is about the before and after experiences. As with the needle injection, knowing what to expect will pretty much remove the stress factor.
The Doctor Visit Before the Eye Needle Injection VisitThe usual chart exam, the usual other tests, the doctor doing the usual dilating and looking into your eyes with the bright lights, the usual picture taking, and whatever other tests might be called for. I only mention this because it might give the false impression that everything has been taken care of and only the eye injection(s) remains when you go to your next appointment; such is not the case. They are only getting started.
The Eye Injection Visit Procedures Before the Actual Needle Injection Is DoneSedatives may be available. Your will be subjected to more eye drops, more tests, more bright lights, more eye pictures (dozens?), more technicians/doctors shining more bright lights in your eyes than you can imagine. You will also be bombarded with all sorts of important information during this entire process. By the time it is time for the actual needle injection, you will be pretty much one confused, disoriented, temporarily light and eye drop blinded mess. You will be guided into the eye injection room.
[The actual injection procedure is described earlier,
right after the quick intro in case you missed it]
After the Eye Needle Injection ProcedureI somehow ended up back at the front desk. I was handed a piece of paper and told it was my next appointment; Since I temporarily couldn't read the side of a barn, I told her I would take her word for it. [March update: am at the exit counter being handed my next appointment. I suddenly said, "Where's my glasses?" Turns out I was wearing them.]
This would be a good time to mention that sometime during all of the above and immediately afterwards, I was informed that:
- Keep eyes closed.
- Do not watch TV or use computer. Forget about reading.
- Do not rub, touch, bump eye.
- Do not let water get near eye for three days at least.
- Put the prescribed anti-bacterial drops in eye(s) four times a day for four days. Real pain in the neck for me, I missed the eye more often that hit. Fortunately, apparently the prescription takes that into account; sufficient quantity was provided to get the job done.
- Do not engage in manual labor or other strenuous activities for four days. [March 2018 update: was informed this has more to do with doing anything that raises blood pressure than anything else.]
- Was warned about possible pain afterwards, but so far none. If there is pain, was told to take OTC painkillers; but if really severe pain or severe vision loss, then to immediately call them.
- Was forewarned to expect the floaters.
My Black Spots Floaters Experience
- While waiting for my ride, I noticed I had six, black floating floaters. They must of been heavy. Whatever direction I moved my eyes or head, gravity dragged them downward. Two were large; two were medium, two were small.
- Since I was supposed to keep my eye closed and no TV/computer/exercise or such; when I got home, I just went to bed and was actually able to fall asleep. When I woke up. the two smallest floaters were gone. [March 2018 update: deliberately got up extremely early; when I got home, went to bed and was able to sleep through to the next day.]
- By the end of the day, the two large floaters and two small floaters had changed to one large and three small.
- The next morning was seeing just one medium-to-small floater. That little critter hopped all over the place as I was working on the computer. A few hours later, that floater also departed the scene.
- [March 2018 update. Only one medium-to-large black spot floater immediately afterwards this time. Disappeared in less than 30 hours.]
I Decided to Call the Office and Ask Them a Few Questions. Here Are the Answers.
- The floaters are the actual medicine dissolving.
- Do not consume anything for the next few days that thins the blood, this includes alcohol. However, high blood pressure medication is apparently fine. For that matter, I don't even know if blood pressure medication thins the blood or not; better safe than sorry. Might depend on which medication is used, there are dozens; be sure the doctor knows.
- Vision can remain blurry or be double vision for a day or maybe two. The eye drops also cause blurriness for a few minutes.
- The TV and computer ban only applied for the remainder of the treatment day.
Couple of Extra Reminder Notes
- The day after treatment, there was still blurriness and double vision issues in the morning. By around noon, all had cleared up.
- By the next day, I was feeling downright cheerful again; but still no desire to do much.
Some Macular Degeneration Federal National Institute of Health Resources
- Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Safety Data Regarding Eye Injections for AMD and Other Related Diseases
The greatest fear is that of the unknown. Now you know what to expect. Not the most fun experience one will ever have, but certainly not the worst.