This article is part of MPR’s coverage of the American Academy of Ophthalmology 2019 Meeting, taking place in San Francisco, CA. Our staff will report on medical research related to eye disorders, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from AAO 2019.

SAN FRANCISCO – Patients who receive intravitreal injections for retinal diseases may experience physical and psychosocial challenges, according to survey results presented at the 2019 American Academy of Ophthalmology Meeting in San Francisco, CA.

To investigate the impact of intravitreal injection treatment on quality of life, study authors reviewed data from a survey completed by 142 patients who received the injections every 4 to 5 weeks (65%) or >6 weeks (31%). The survey aimed to assess the potential burden associated with treatment, particularly discomfort, emotional stress, and inconvenience.

Results showed that 52% of patients reported side effects at every visit (ie, eye pain/discomfort, photophobia, decreased vision beyond the first hour). Using a Likert scale of 0 (insignificant) to 6 (very significant), the average pain score was 2.4, with pain lasting 1 to 8 hours in 44% of patients. Moreover, 29% of patients reported using over-the-counter pain medications before or after treatment.

As for anxiety, 8% of surveyed patients admitted to using antianxiety drugs. On a Likert scale of 0 (very anxious) to 6 (not at all anxious), mean anxiety level scores before, during, and after treatment were 3.6, 3.8, and 3.8, respectively.

In addition, 64% of patients reported that they required help from a caretaker during visits; for most (72%), time in clinic ranged from 1 to 3 hours. 

“Although anti-VEGF injections represent the gold standard for treatment of retinal diseases, a substantial proportion of patients report physical and psychosocial challenges,” the authors concluded, adding that “knowledge of patient experiences may facilitate strategies to improve this burden.”

Reference

Wang, R, et al. Questionnaire to Assess Life Impact of Treatment by Intravitreal Injections: QUALITII Study Report #1. Poster number: PO544. The American Academy of Ophthalmology Meeting; October 12-15 2019.