The macula is the central part of the retina at the back of the eye. It is responsible for fine vision (reading, writing, watching television, and recognising faces). Patients with diabetes may develop macular oedema (swelling of the retina) due to leaking of fluid from blood vessels. This causes the vision to become blurred.
For some patients a course of anti VEGF injections into the eye will be needed to treat the swelling and improve the vison. The drug stops the growth of the abnormal blood vessels and reduces the swelling of the retina.
A course of three injections is recommended each injection one month apart at the start. The procedure is carried out in a clean environment using sterile technique.
The eye is cleaned and local anaesthetic drops are given to numb the eye. During the injection you will feel a sensation of pressure but it should not be painful. It takes less than a minute to give the injection and the needle is slowly withdrawn when finished.
Afterwards the eye may feel slightly bruised and a bruise may appear on the white of the eye. This is not a serious problem and is due to blood vessels in the lining of the outside of the eye being caught by the needle.
This will slowly disappear over a couple of weeks. If your eye becomes very red and/or painful in the days and weeks following the injection you should contact the hospital.
The risks of the injection are bleeding and infection. The risk of this happening is one person in every 3,000.
The eye may or may not be covered after the injection. If a pad is applied this may be removed when you reach home.
We do not usually give post injection drops. If the eye is uncomfortable you may take 2 paracetamol or your regular pain relief tablet.