By Christine Gonzales, MD, Retina & Vitreous Center
Intravitreal injections are common procedures performed in retina practices for varying conditions including Age-related Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Retinal Vein Occlusions. These medical treatments have had enormous impact on preventing severe vision loss, blindness, and other ocular complications in these conditions. The thought of a needle in the eye is very scary for many patients. And although these treatments are done with anesthetic to minimize pain, not all patients respond to anesthesia in the same way, and many patients need individualized anesthetic plans. Many offices use the same anesthetic protocol for all of their patients. We, at the Retina and Vitreous Center, take the patients’ experiences with regard to their tolerance of pain and response to anesthesia very seriously. Our approach is to customize the anesthetic plan to the individual patient based on input from the patient, published studies, and communications from other physicians at national and international meetings. Our techniques are constantly evolving to improve our patients’ experience and minimize pain from injections. In our experience, we have been able to achieve pain-free injections in greater that 90% of our patients, and we have found anesthetic solutions even for those who have experienced pain with prior injections.