Blind World

Beating Blinding Conditions.


June 23, 2002.

Bausch & Lomb.

Millions of Americans have damaging eye conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration - all conditions that can result in blindness. While pharmaceutical treatments such as pills or drops are available, these come with their own share of complications. However, now a tiny implant may one day save the sight of millions.

The eyes are sometimes referred to as the windows to the soul. When disease affects them, the result can be devastating.

Consider this: some 80 million Americans suffer potentially blinding eye conditions. While medications can help many of the conditions, retinal specialist Suber Huang, M.D., says most treatments are less than picture perfect. "You only need an infinitesimal amount of medication. If you need to ingest medication, though, the volume of distribution is the whole body in order to get a certain level into the eye," says Dr. Huang, of University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Now, doctors are taking a closer look at a new treatment, an implant called Envision TD.

Dr. Huang says, "By using a small device, a small implant, the amount of drug used can be less, but the dosages to the eye can be higher."

A tiny incision is made and the tablet implanted.

"This coated tablet slowly wears away, slowly dissolves with time, and it's the slow and very predictable release of medicine that has its greatest effect," says Dr. Huang.

Doctors at 81 centers worldwide are studying the implant for uveitis, an inflammation in the eye. Images taken throughout the treatment are sent here where they are evaluated for changes. In the future, the treatment may be used for more than uveitis.

Dr. Huang says, "A lot of diseases, in fact most of the blinding diseases in the world, could potentially be affected by using this technology."

Not bad for a procedure that takes about 20 minutes and may last up to three years.

For now, after three years patients may have to have a new implant put in. This is the same technology commonly used to treat eye conditions associated with AIDS, and doctors say it has shown a great deal of success with few negative side effects.

If you would like more public information, please contact:

Margaret Graham
Bausch & Lomb
1 Bausch & Lomb
Rochester, NY 14604

(585) 338-5469

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