Intravitreal injections ‘affect quality of life’

Research has found that the regimens associated with intravitreal injections can have a detrimental affect on a patient’s quality of life

30 Mar 2015 by Ryan O'Hare

The intravitreal injection regimens associated with treating retinal disease can have a detrimental effect on the patient’s quality of life, according to new research.

Presented at the 6th World Congress on Controversies in Ophthalmology (COPHy), which took place in Sorrento, Italy last month (26–29 March), the study found that 64% of patients who undergo monthly eye injections feel that the main improvement would be a reduction in the frequency of injections or appointments required to achieve the same results. 

The research was conducted among 131 patients with either retinal vein occlusion (RVO) or diabetic macular oedema (DMO) in the UK, Germany and Italy. It revealed that in addition to producing anxiety, worry and disturbed sleep patterns, injections appointments had major implications on the amount of time patients are required to take off work.

It was reported that, on average, patients spent four-and-a-half hours travelling to their appointment and having the injection, while 53% took at least one day off work. Furthermore, of those, 25% took two to three days off, and 12% took up to five days off.

Presenting the findings, Sobha Sivaprasad, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: “The burden associated with loss of vision is well recognised, and it is important that we seek to prevent visual deterioration with the treatments we have available. However, I do believe that it is only recently that clinicians have really started to think about the true impact our choice of treatment can have on patients and their family. 

“For the average patient, an appointment is not limited to the 10 minutes they spend in the treatment room. It can actually mean more than 48 hours worrying and feeling anxious about the injection, over half a day travelling and attending the appointment, and for some, the added burden of having to ask a carer to sacrifice considerable amounts of their own time as well.”

Ms Sivaprasad concluded: “I really believe that we, as clinicians, need to consider all available treatment types, including newer options which require fewer appointments, especially when you take into account the broader treatment commitments many patients have.”

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