Breakthrough technology used to discover eye damage from rep
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In a first of its kind study, Mount Sinai researchers are using optimal coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) to measure potential retina damage from long-term use of intravitreal eye injections. The findings, suggest that repeated use of these injections, a popular therapy for common eye conditions—could contribute to progressive vision loss after many years. The results may also lead to changes in the way eye conditions are treated.

Intravitreal injections are the most widely performed procedure for a variety of eye diseases, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusion that largely affect the Medicare population.

OCTA is an advanced imaging system that captures the motion of red blood cells in blood vessels noninvasively, as opposed to traditional angiography, which uses dye injections Using OCTA, Dr. Rosen and his team analyzed the eyes of 39 patients over age 18 after they received intravitreal bevacizumab or aflibercept injections for diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, choroidal neovascular membrane, retinal vein occlusion, or radiation retinopathy. Minutes after the injections, the researchers measured blood flow in different areas of the macula and optic nerve. On average, they found a significant and temporary spike in eye pressure along with a significant and temporary reduction of blood flow that eventually resolved. They discovered that some areas of the macula and nerve were stressed more than others, and this newfound information can lead doctors to use advanced imaging and visual field testing to look for early signs of damage.

This study could pave the way for doctors to pre-treat patients with medications to reduce their spikes in eye pressure after getting injections to protect them from possible long-term damage. The findings may also lead doctors to more carefully consider the risks in patients with advanced glaucoma (who already have high levels of eye pressure) before treating them with injections.