Eye Injections Save Linda's Sight

EMBED </>More Videos

Twenty-nine million Americans have diabetes, which can lead to a host of serious health problems; among them something called diabetic retinopathy. (KFSN)

Twenty-nine million Americans have diabetes, which can lead to a host of serious health problems; among them something called diabetic retinopathy. It's the most common cause of vision loss in diabetic patients. New treatments are helping patients stay in focus.

Linda Swiercinsky's driving days were nearly in her rearview mirror.

"My left eye, I was almost blind and I had trouble getting my driver's license back in Illinois so I knew I had to do something," Swiercinsky told Ivanhoe.

Swiercinsky has diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar causes the capillaries in the eye to close. The blood vessels can swell and leak fluid.

Dana Deupree, M.D., FACS, a vitreoretinal surgeon at The Macula Center in Tampa, detailed. "It often can be very subtle, and that's a little bit of the problem. It can be a very silent disease." (Read Full Interview)

Dr. Deupree uses an injectable drug, called Anti-Vegf, that directly blocks certain harmful proteins to get rid of leakage and bleeding.

"We numb the eye up completely and the whole process takes a couple minutes," Dr. Deupree told Ivanhoe.

He's also using this new injectable implant that slowly releases steroids into the eye over the course of three years. Swiercinsky had this procedure.

Dr. Deupree explained, "It's a very tiny implanted device. Much smaller than a grain of rice. Stays in your eye and delivers the drug and it helps stabilize these eyes. It gets the swelling down, inflammation down."

If the damage is too advanced than surgery may be needed.

Dr. Deupree said, "Saving peoples' vision is very cost effective. People who go blind, it's a horrible thing."

Now Swiercinsky's back in the driver's seat to stay.

Complications with some treatments could be increased eye pressure. Dr. Deupree said diabetics should get an eye exam at least once a year. He said prevention is the safest way to keep eye sight stable.

Related Topics:
healthhealth watch
(Copyright ©2017 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments