When it comes to diseases and conditions that affect the retina, there are several medical and surgical treatments available, including intravitreal injections, lasers, and vitrectomy surgery. Our university fellowship-trained retina specialists, Drs. Bruce Saran, MD and Michael Ward, MD, tailor each patient’s therapy to their individual needs utilizing the latest research and most advanced technology.
Intravitreal injections are most commonly used to treat wet, age-related macular degeneration and macular edema from conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusions. These diseases can cause significant vision loss, and an intravitreal injection may help with stabilizing and, in many cases, improving the vision. This procedure is performed in the office and generally takes only a few minutes. After the eye is anesthetized, the injection is administered into the vitreous portion of the eye. The vitreous is the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the space between the lens and the retina. Common medicines used for injections include Lucentis®, Avastin®, Eylea®, and Ozurdex®. The medicine that is used is individualized to the patient and will also depend on the specific eye disease that is being treated.
Retinal laser photocoagulation is a procedure used to seal or destroy leaking blood vessels in the retina that can occur in conditions like wet macular degeneration and diabetes. The procedure can also be used to seal retinal tears and destroy abnormal tissue found in the back of the eye. Laser photocoagulation is performed in the office with a local or topical anesthetic. The pupils will need to be dilated so your doctor can adequately visualize the area to be treated. Usually, normal activities can be resumed right after the procedure, and no prescription medications are typically required.
Vitrectomy surgery is an outpatient procedure that is used to treat conditions such as vitreous hemorrhage or other opacities, retinal detachments, diabetic retinopathy, macular puckers, and macular holes. The surgery is performed under local or general anesthesia and typically takes about one hour to complete. During a vitrectomy, the surgeon removes the vitreous from the eye. The vitreous is the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the back of the eye. Once the vitreous is removed, the surgeon is able to make any necessary repairs to the retina. A saline solution is infused into the eye at the time of surgery, which is replaced with the eye’s natural aqueous fluid over time. Often, a temporary air or gas bubble will need to be used in place of saline to help the retina heal properly. Occasionally, silicone oil will need to be used for complicated or recurrent retinal detachments.
For more information about retina treatments available at Chester County Eye Care, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our retina specialists, please contact our practice today.