To evaluate the prevalence of the most common serious adverse events associated with intravitreous (IVT) injection.
A systematic search of the literature via PubMed from 1966 to March 1, 2004, was conducted to identify studies evaluating the safety of IVT injection. Data submitted in New Drug Applications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for drugs administered into the vitreous were included where available. Serious adverse events reported in each study were recorded, and risk per eye and risk per injection were calculated for the following serious adverse events: endophthalmitis, retinal detachment, iritis/uveitis, intraocular hemorrhage, ocular hypertension, cataract, and hypotony. Rare complications also were noted.
Data from 14,866 IVT injections in 4,382 eyes were analyzed. There were 38 cases of endophthalmitis (including those reported as pseudoendophthalmitis) for a prevalence of 0.3% per injection and 0.9% per eye. Excluding cases reported specifically as pseudoendophthalmitis, the prevalence of endophthalmitis was 0.2% per injection and 0.5% per eye. Retinal detachment, iritis/uveitis, ocular hypertension, cataract, intraocular hemorrhage, and hypotony were generally associated with IVT injection of specific compounds and were infrequently attributed by the investigators to the injection procedure itself. Retinal vascular occlusions were described rarely in patients after IVT injection, and it was unclear in most cases whether these represented true injection-related complications or chance associations.
The risk of serious adverse events reported after IVT injection is low. Nevertheless, careful attention to injection technique and appropriate postinjection monitoring are essential because uncommon injection-related complications may be associated with permanent vision loss.