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Macular degeneration is now a very common cause for the loss of vision in our community. The macula is in the central part of the retina at the back of the eye and is responsible for detailed vision which we use to read, drive and perform precision tasks. Macular degeneration tends to increase with advancing age.

Macular Degeneration Types

Symptoms of macular degeneration are:-

  • Decreased distance and reading vision
  • Distortion in the central vision: seeing waves or curves in lines that should be straight 
  • Blur or a dark patch in the centre of the vision

There are different types of macular degeneration which can be distinguished by assessment with a detailed examination and scans (usually OCT or ocular coherence tomography). Any sudden change in vision (over hours or days) needs to be urgently assessed. Some types of macular degeneration require treatment with intravitreal injection. This is often very effective but requires ongoing treatment which will be individualised according to your needs. This will be discussed and a plan made for further management if necessary.

We recommend the Macula Disease Foundation and Vision Australia for more information. Click below.

Painless Intravitreal Injections

Assessment and management of patients with macular disease is very specialised. Intravitreal injections are now frequently used for treatment of a variety of macular conditions including neovascular (or ‘wet’) macular degeneration, diabetic macular oedema and retinal vein occlusion. Other less common macular complications caused by high myopia or uveitis (ocular inflammation) may also benefit from injections.

The great advantage with these injections is that the drug is delivered inside the eye to where it is most needed. This reduces side effects. The treatment may be several injections over a period of time but in the case of ‘wet’ macular degeneration, the treatment needs to be ongoing to maintain the effect. Usually the time interval between the injections can be gradually increased.

Patients often worry that the injections will be painful but the eye is numbed with anaesthetic drops and usually an anaesthetic injection so the injection is not felt. Disinfectant suitable for use on the eye is used to reduce the risk of infection. It may cause a mild foreign body sensation (or ‘scratchiness’) afterwards for a few hours but this will settle down with lubricant drops or an eye pad.

It is important to report any redness or loss of vision in the days after the injection as this may indicate infection and needs review. Patients who have injections are given information about this as well as contact details in case of emergency.

Overwhelmingly, these injections are well tolerated and at Gladesville Eye Specialists we have had many years of experience to make the injection process as easy and efficient as possible for our patients.

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