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The aim of this study was to test the discomfort experienced during intravitreal injections with eyelid retraction between an eyelid speculum, cotton-tipped applicator (CTA), and unimanual eyelid retraction techniques. In total, 99 patients receiving intravitreal bevacizumab were enrolled into this prospective study. Participants were randomized to one of the three methods, given subconjunctival 2% lidocaine and then injected in the superior temporal quadrant. Immediately after the procedure, each patient was given a visual analog scale (VAS) to rate their discomfort. The mean pain scores for eyelid retraction with unimanual, CTA, and speculum groups were 0.788 (standard deviation [SD] 0.70, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.448-1.128), 0.945 (SD 1.28, 95% CI 0.600-1.291), and 1.561 (SD 1.28, 95% CI 1.210-1.912), respectively. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) test revealed a significant difference between the groups (P = 0.006). Post hoc analysis also revealed a difference in mean pain scores between the speculum and both the CTA and the unimanual methods. Our study shows that the unimanual and CTA methods for eyelid retraction are significantly less painful for patients compared to the speculum method. Patient comfort is of the utmost importance as intravitreal injections are performed millions of times a year with most patients requiring multiple injections.


Joseph J Raevis, Matthew D Karl, Anthony M Parendo, Konstantin Astafurov, Andrew G Dugue, Steven A Agemy, Allison E Rizzuti, Joseph Tseng, Wayne Scott, Katelin Reaney-Perrotti, John Laudi, Eric M Shrier. Eyelid retraction discomfort with cotton-tipped applicator, unimanual and speculum intravitreal injection techniques: Eyelid retraction technique randomized comparison trial (Eyelid RETRACT). Indian journal of ophthalmology. 2020 Aug;68(8):1593-1595

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PMID: 32709784

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