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​​What’s wrong with my eyes, doc?

My father is currently receiving intravitreal (IVT) injections to treat his diabetic retinopathy. After the injection, he tends to complain about seeing “bubbles” in the eye and discomfort from soreness. Are these symptoms common? What are some of the dos and don’ts that he should take note of to reduce the symptoms?

The symptoms that your father have are common. Due to air trapped in the injection fluid, bubbles in the eyes may occur a few hours after the injection.

He may also experience floaters because of the movement of jelly in the eye — this may go on for a few weeks. Other common symptoms present in patients receiving IVT injections for diabetic retinopathy are:

Eye Redness

There may be redness at the point of injection, which may increase in size over a few days. This usually resolves in one to two weeks, and is harmless.

Eye Discomfort

After the injection, the patient may experience soreness and grittiness, or foreign body sensation in the eye. This is caused by the sterilising agents used to prevent eye infection and may last a few days, especially for those with a sensitivity to the agents.

Prompt medical attention is necessary when the patient experiences the following:

  • Pain in the eye

  • Blurry or decreased vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Prolonged or worsening eye redness after the injection

  • Eye discharge

Do's and Don'ts

To ensure that your eye heals well after the IVT injection, here are some important advice to observe:

  • On injection day, do not rub or apply pressure on the eye, splash water into the eye, drive, swim, or wear contact lenses

  • Apply eye drops if prescribed

  • Wear sunglasses when you are outdoors

  • Watching television and normal computer usage can be carried out as per usual

  • Avoid water from entering eyes when you shower (up to one day after injection)


Associate Prof Ian Yeo
Deputy Medical Director (Education)
Senior Consultant, Medical & Surgical Retina Departments, SNEC