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Curr Eye Res. 2013 Feb;38(2):278-82. doi: 10.3109/02713683.2012.758290. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Ocular pain after intravitreal injection.

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Ophthalmology Unit, Palencia Hospital Complex (CAPA), Palencia, Spain.



To evaluate the efficacy of different anesthetics and topical anti-inflammatory treatment in patients undergoing intravitreal injections (IVI).


Prospective, randomized, double masked, comparative study. Patients undergoing 0.05 mL IVI were randomized to two different preoperative anesthetic regimes (regime A [0.5% tetracaine + naphazoline] versus regime B [5% lidocaine]) and two different post-injection topical protocols (protocol 1 [tobramycin qid] versus protocol 2 [tobramycin qid + diclofenac qid]). Patients were trained to score pain using a numerical rating pain scale from 0 (no pain) to 10 (excruciating pain) immediately after the injection, 30 min and 24 h later. Patients were instructed to take oral paracetamol (650-1000 mg, adjusted to the patient's weight) every six hours ad lib if necessary.


A total of 156 patients were enrolled; 86 patients were randomized to regime A and 70 to regime B; 78 patients were assigned to each of the post-injection topical protocols. The average pain score immediately after the IVI was 2.77 (SD 2.12) for the whole group (2.85, SD 2.23 with tetracaine and 2.67, SD 2.00 with lidocaine; p = 0.73, Mann-Whitney U-test). Twenty-four hours later, the average pain score was 1.84, SD 2.45 (topical diclofenac + tobramycin) versus 1.75, SD 1.83 (topical tobramycin; p = 0.46, Mann-Whitney U-test). Forty-seven patients (30%) required oral paracetamol (average 3.3 and range 1-5 tablets). Conjunctival hemorrhage 30 min after the injection was less frequent and severe in eyes treated with topical naphazoline (p = 0.055, Mann-Whitney U-test).


Topical tetracaine and lidocaine provide similar anesthesia before IVI. Topical diclofenac does not seem to reduce pain scores after IVI.

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