Implantation of medications such as dexamethasone and fluocinolone acetonide into the eye are becoming more and more commonplace as treatment for retinal diseases. These implants are being used to treat inflammatory retinal issues such as macular edema after branch or central vein occlusions, uveitis, choroiditis, and chorioretinitis, and are being studied to treat other diseases of the retina, including diabetic macular edema.
The benefits of intravitreal implants over traditional methods of treatment are that they deliver a continuous concentration of drug over a prolonged period of time. Before the inception of intravitreal implants, patients would have to have injections into the eye, which could be as often as monthly. Intravitreal implants last longer, sometimes up to a year depending on the medication, so the discomfort and inconvenience to the patient is minimized. It also provides more constant relief to the patient, as it releases a continuous concentration of the medication.