Anti-VEGF injections

What are Anti-VEGF treatments?

Anti-VEGF treatments are a group of medicines that can be used to treat a number of eye conditions that cause abnormal blood vessel growth or swelling (oedema) under the macula area – a tiny but important area at the back of the eye. These eye conditions include:

  • Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Diabetic macular oedema
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal vein occlusion

VEGF stands for vascular endothelial growth factor, which is one of the chemicals involved in making blood vessels in the eye grow and leak. In some cases, the abnormal production of VEGF can lead to a rapid loss of central vision.

What are the types of anti-VEGF injections?

The three main types of anti-VEGF medications are Lucentis, Eylea, and Avastin. These agents are injected into the vitreous (the jelly-like substance inside the eye). By blocking VEGF, they can reduce scarring and damage, which can help to slow vision loss, and improve sight in some patients.

Before the treatment

At Circle Health hospitals, anti-VEGF injections are carried out under local anaesthetic by leading Consultant Eye Surgeons who specialise in vitreoretinal conditions. Before your treatment, your consultant will see you a private clinical appointment to assess your individual situation, and help you decide the most suitable anti-VEGF medication for you.

Anti-VEGF injections: the procedure

At the start of the procedure, your consultant will use plenty of anaesthetic eyes drops to numb your eye area. The injection is performed quickly using a tiny needle. You may feel a slight pressure but the injection should not be painful. The procedure takes 10 to 15 minutes, but the injection itself is over in less than 10 seconds

When will I recover?

You can usually leave the hospital within an hour after the procedure. Depending on the type of anti-VEGF medication you receive, you may need several injections on a follow-up, monthly basis to stabilise your vision. These injections may continue for two years or more depending upon your treatment response.

What are the risks?

Like any surgery, there are some risks associated with anti-VEGF injections. However, serious problems related to these treatments are rare. Your consultant will discuss the benefits and risks of anti-VEGF procedures in a private consultation before the surgery.

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