Intravitreal injections of steroid compounds are used in the treatment of certain retinal diseases such as diabetic maculopathy and retinal vein occlusion. They are usually used as a second-line treatment in patients whose eye condition has failed to respond to intravitreal anti-VEGF injections but they may be used as a first or primary treatment in inflammatory diseases of the eye such as cystoid macular oedema. There are several steroid compounds available for use as an intravitreal injection:
Triamcinolone Acetonide: Triamcinolone acetonide is a synthetic corticosteroid. Corticosteroids are hormones that are produced naturally by the body. These compounds are among the most potent anti-inflammatory drugs available, and work by inhibiting cellular mechanisms which cause allergic responses and inflammation. Triamcinolone acetonide is a long-lasting corticosteroid often used for intravitreal injection.
Ozurdex: Ozurdex is a long lasting steroid implant that contains dexamethasone. The implant is given by an injection into the eye and can last up to 6 months in some people. It is used in cases of prolonged intraocular inflammation or severe diabetic maculopathy.
Are there any side-effects of intravitreal steroid injections?
Yes. Intravitreal steroid injections carry the same risks as any intravitreal injection. However in addition at least 30% of patients will develop elevated eye pressure after an intravitreal steroid injection, which may require treatment with eyedrops, laser or even surgery in rare cases.
Repeated intravitreal steroid injections also increase the risk of cataract.