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Common Treatments at our Practice

Intravitreal Injections

Intravitreal Injections have given retina specialists a new and powerful method to fight a wide range of occular diseases including wet macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and retinopathy, retinal vein disorders, and ocular inflammation. In many retinal disorders, delivering a potentially vision saving medication directly into the eye has become the standard of care. We understand the thought of having an injection in the eye sounds scary, but our eye physicians take extra steps to make this as safe and comfortable of a procedure as possible. Each patients will have local anesthesia placed onto the surface of the eye to minimize discomfort. All surgical instruments are sterilized and the eye is pre-treated with an antiseptic to minimize the risk of infection. The large majority of patients tolerate this procedure very well with only minor symptoms such as a foreign body sensation or a red eye that typically resolves in the days following the procedure. Should these symptoms persist or if patients complain of worsening vision or eye pain, patients should contact our office immediately. 

Ophthalmic Laser

Ophthalmic Lasers have been in use since the 1970's and are currently used to treat a wide range of eye disorders. At our office, lasers are used most often to treat severe cases of diabetic macular edema (DME) secondary to non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). We also use ophthalmic lasers to treat retinal tears, retinal vein occlusions,  and some retinal detachments. This procedure usually does not exceed 30 minutes.  Minor discomfort during laser treatment is normal. We use some form of anesthesia with every procedure and in some cases your eye may need to be patched for a few hours following the procedure to protect it until the anesthesia dissipates. Because of this we encourage all patients to bring someone with them who is able to drive after the procedure is complete.

Cryopexy

Cryopexy, also known as cryotherapy, is most commonly used in our office to treat retinal tears or retinal detachments. In this procedure, we use a very cold probe on the outside of the eye to freeze a specific part of the retina to the layers of cells underneath it. This freezing causes a scar to form between the layers and this scar holds the retina firmly in place. We typically use local anesthesia to numb the eye itself, but the sensation of an ice cream headache is often reported to be felt during the procedure. Swelling and redness of the eye is expected after the procedure and can last up to two weeks.

Cryopexy may be used in conjunction with a gas bubble procedure, called pneumatic retinopexy, to reattach a retinal detachment. Performed in the office, the gas bubble is introduced into the vitreous cavity and acts to hold the retina in place as the freezing treatment heals. Patients are instructed to maintain a strict head position to allow the gas bubble to rest in the proper anatomical location. While the bubble remains in the eye, the patient is strictly prohibited from air travel, travelling to high altitudes, or from having surgery that requires the use of nitrous oxide (often used in dental procedures), as there may be an unsafe elevation of the eye pressure. The bubble may remain in the eye for up to six weeks depending on the type of gas used.

Vitrectomy

A vitrectomy is a surgery that involves removing some or all of the vitreous fluid from the eye. This surgery is done at an ambulatory surgical center or outpatient hospital. The procedure is performed either under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation and involves making three small incisions on the white part of the eye. It is very common to perform a vitrectomy as part of a longer surgical process, such as removing an epiretinal membrane or repairing a retinal detachment and replacing the vitreous fluid with an air/gas mixture. These surgeries typically take 1-2 hours and some pain and redness can be experienced afterwards. The pain can usually be alleviated with tylenol and the redness should subside over the course of the recovery period. Patients return to the office for post-operative appointments  the next morning and one week from the date of the operation.