Treatments and procedures are done in-office and take about as long as a normal office visit (1.5 to 2 hours). Patients undergoing a treatment or procedure are worked up by a technician (vision and pressure check) and then dilated. Photography or an exam may be necessary before a treatment.
Intravitreal injections are a common procedure performed in the office. Medications are injected directly into the eye to treat a variety of eye conditions including macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and cystoid macular edema. Discomfort with the injection is typically minimal. The eye is thoroughly numbed using topical eye drops and a small sponge that is placed under the bottom eyelid. The sponge is soaked in a strong anesthetic solution which numbs the eye completely. A very small needle is used and the actual injection is completed in a matter of seconds. Your physician may ask you to wear a patch for one hour after the treatment.
After effects may include floaters, which will gradually decrease and disappear within 24 hours. Some patients may notice floaters for several days. After the anesthetic wears off, you may experience some discomfort around the eye. Tylenol or Advil should help alleviate discomfort or pain. Significant pain or loss of vision should be reported to our office immediately.
You may not notice a visual improvement for many weeks. Some patients will not notice any visual improvement. This does not necessarily mean that medication is not working, but rather stabilizing the disease, in hopes of maintaining the vision that is left.
Side effects are typically minimal. They may include infection, allergic reaction, bleeding around the injection site, temporary increase in eye pressure (glaucoma) and/or cataract formation. These effects are minimized by the techniques used in our office.
Laser treatments are generally short, in-office procedures. They are performed most commonly on patients with diabetic retinopathy, retinal tears, retinal detachments, histoplasmosis, retinal vein occlusions, and microanerysms. Your eye will be numbed and a contact lens is held on the surface of your eye. The physician is then able to carefully control the power and length of the laser beam in order to:
- Seal blood vessels that are bleeding or leaking fluid
- Destroy abnormal tissue such as a tumor
- Bond the retina to the back of the eye
Laser treatments cause little or no discomfort. Your physician may have you wear a patch for a few hours following your treatment.
Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)
Photodynamic Therapy with Visudyne is a treatment used to slow the progression of certain macular diseases or conditions and maintain your vision. Visudyne is a light-activated drug that is injected into the bloodstream over the course of 10 minutes and travels to the abnormal vessels. It is then activated by a brief (83 seconds) low-power or "cold" laser, which produces a reaction that damages and closes abnormal vessels without causing damage to healthy retinal tissue.
Because the Visudyne travels throughout your entire body, your skin will be sensitive to bright light (halogen) and direct sunlight for 5 days. You should not stay in the dark or limit your activities, just be careful to make sure all your skin is covered before going outside.
If you are scheduled to have PDT, please bring the following with you to your appointment:
- Dark sunglasses
- A wide-brimmed hat
- A tight-weave, light-colored, long-sleeved shirt
- Long pants
If you have questions about your PDT treatment, you can call the office at (585) 442-3411 and ask to speak with a technician.