You may know someone who has had medicine shots in the eye to treat an eye disease. Yes, it sounds scary and painful. But if you read on, you'll learn not only why people get these shots but also how common and comfortable this treatment has become.
Why Shots In the Eye?
Many eye diseases such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy (diabetes of the eye) occur inside the eye. The best way to get medicines inside the eye to treat these conditions is to inject them into the eye. Eye drops have to go through the eyeball wall to get to the inside. Only some of the drop gets through the wall, so it is not a powerful treatment for problems inside the eye.
How Common Are Shots In the Eye?
Many eye diseases require multiple injections to treat. Eye injections have become very common. In fact, an estimated six million eye injections were done in the US in 2016.
How Do You Give a Shot In the Eye?
The eye doctor uses a small syringe with a very small needle. The needle goes into the white part on the side of the eye, not straight in the front. The doctor may use an eyelid holder to keep your eye open so you don't have to worry about keeping your eye open. The injection takes only one-two seconds.
Does the Shot Hurt?
This is the most important question! The eye doctor numbs the eye so the shot is very comfortable. Sometimes the patient will feel a pinch or some pressure that lasts only one second.
What Happens After the Shot?
Most commonly patients may feel scratchiness from the soap used to clean the eye to minimize the risk of infection. This scratchiness is usually gone after a night or two of sleep. The eye may be swollen, bright red and bruised for several days, sometimes longer. More serious complications such as eye infection may happen but are rare.
The patient may resume full activity immediately after the injection. My patients often say the shot was easier than they expected.