What Are Eye Injections Really Like?
Are you screaming at the mere thought of a needle in your eye? Deeeep breath. This treatment isn't as stressful as you think.
Frank Siringo, M.D., O.D., chief of vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at Omni Eye Specialists in Denver, explains exactly what happens during an eye-injection treatment.
The first thing to know about an eye injection is that it's nowhere near as bad as it sounds. That's the first thing I tell patients before we get them ready for an injection.
The first injection is the worst for the patient, because they're so anxious. And then every other visit, patients generally know what to expect, and it's less anxiety inducing.
Essentially, we start the eye injection process by explaining what we're going to be performing for the patient, what the risks and benefits are. You generally get a consent for the procedure. Then we start to make the eye numb with some anesthetic eyedrops. Sometimes we use an injection of anesthetic around the eye and sometimes we use a sort of anesthetic gel as well. But one way or the other, we make the eye as numb as possible to maximize the patient's comfort.
When the patient is numb, then we use speculum or a small instrument to keeps the eyelids open, and we put that in between the eyelids. Then we put a detergent which we call Betadine, and that's an eye drop full of medication that kills bacteria. Once that's done its job, then a very, very small needle goes through the white part of the eye and delivers a very small amount of medicine right into the eye. Next we rinse the eye with some sterile artificial tears.
In terms of how patients get through the anxiety of the procedure, it's very uncommon that I prescribe an anti-anxiety medication. I think I have two patients that I routinely prescribe an anti-anxiety for. More commonly, I'll play calming music. The patient can bring a friend or a family member, and sometimes that person will hold their hand. I really look for what the patient needs, and if it's an anti-anxiety medicine, then that's fine, but usually patients want some sort of comfort. Sometimes my technician will hold their hand, but oftentimes it's a friend or family member. And over time they generally need that support less and less as the procedure becomes more routine.