Post-Intravitreal injection pain reduction using topical NSAIDS: A comparative study

Chen Shtayer, A. Lily Okrent Smolar*, Mohamad Elmalak, Lena Abayev, Andrzej Grzybowski, Elad Moisseiev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To compare the efficacy of two different topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) drops with versus without conservatives after intravitreal injections (IVIs). Design: Prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blinded comparative study. Participants and method: A total of 308 eyes of 252 patients receiving an IVI of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) were randomly assigned to receive either a single drop of nepafenac 0.1%, preservative-free diclofenac 0.1%, or artificial tears (control group) immediately after IVI. Primary outcome measure was pain scores immediately, six hours and twenty-four hours post- injection. Results: 166 patients received one topical drop of NSAIDS, of which 90 in the diclofenac group and 76 in the nepafenac group. Additional 86 patients were included in the control group. Mean reported pain score was significantly lower at six hours after IVI in the preservative-free diclofenac group (17.1 ± 23.0) than in the nepafenac group (26.2 ± 31.9) and the control group (27.5 ± 29.2) (p = 0.03). At twenty-four hours post-injection there was no statistically significant difference between the groups. Patients reported less pain compared to previous IVIs and none referred to urgent health care, but these findings were not statistically significant. Conclusions: The use of topical preservative-free NSAIDs may be superior to preservative- containing NSAIDs in pain relief after IVIs and may be considered as part of the treatment protocol of this population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Ophthalmology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • intravitreal injections
  • pain relief
  • preservatives free


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