Press Release (ePRNews.com) - FORT MYERS, Fla. - May 30, 2017 - Almost all diabetics will develop some form of diabetic retinal eye disease (retinopathy) during their lifetimes.
Now there is a new treatment option for patients with diabetic retinopathy without diabetic macular swelling (DME). This treatment may improve their vision and potentially prevent progressive diabetic retinopathy complications.
In April, 2017, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Lucentis® for treating some types of diabetic retinopathy in patients without swelling (DME). This is a major therapeutic advance for some diabetic patients without DME. Lucentis® was approved for the more serious proliferative diabetic retinopathy with DME in November, 2015.
This approval makes Lucentis the first and only medication that is FDA-approved to treat all forms of diabetic retinopathy. Lucentis may be instrumental in helping to prevent some of the major vision threatening complications we see in diabetic retinopathy.
This is wonderful news for the 7.7 million U.S. residents who have diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness among working-age Americans.
The clinical trial was conducted by the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net), which is funded by the National Eye Institute. Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida is one of the 184 clinical trial sites throughout the U.S.
Patients from throughout Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties participated in the clinical trial.
A complication of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can damage blood vessels in the light-sensitive retina in the back of the eye. As the disease worsens, blood vessels may weaken and lose their ability to function properly. Diabetic retinopathy becomes proliferative when lack of blood flow in the retina increases production of a substance called vascular endothelial growth factor, which can stimulate the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels and scar-like tissue. These new vessels are prone to bleeding into the center of the eye, often requiring a surgical procedure called vitrectomy to clear the blood and remove scar tissue. The abnormal blood vessels and scarring can also cause retinal detachment and blindness.
There are many other steps diabetics can take to help prevent vision loss. Keeping blood sugar and blood pressure under control can slow the progression of eye, kidney, and nerve disease. It is important to monitor blood sugar as recommended by your doctor.
Good overall health is also vital to successful management of diabetic retinopathy. In general, habits that are healthy for the body are also helpful to the eyes. These habits include eating a well-balanced diet according to doctors’ recommendations, exercising regularly, not smoking, and taking medications as prescribed.
Make sure to educate yourself and communicate with your doctors. Your general medical doctor/endocrinologist and your eye doctor can give you the tools you need to be able to learn more about diabetes and the effect it has on your vision.
See an eye doctor regularly for dilated eye examinations. It is also important to have a dilated eye exam if you have any changes in your vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people with Type I diabetes should have a yearly eye examination starting 5 years after the onset of the disease. Type II diabetics should have an eye exam as soon as diagnosed with diabetes, then at least once a year. Early detection is very important in successfully managing diabetic eye disease.
Visit www.diabetes.org (http://www.diabetes.org/) or www.eye.md (http://www.eye.md/) to learn more about diabetes and diabetic eye disease.
Tom Ghuman, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a retina specialist with Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida with offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Naples and Port Charlotte (239-939-4323).
Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida