Stroke of the Eye

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KFSN) -- Stroke of the eye is a frightening condition that causes people to lose half their vision in a matter of hours or days. It strikes up to 6,000 people a year in the U.S. according to the NIH, and doctors have never been able to successfully treat it. More on a new drug that's showing benefit.

Steve Carson was 45 when the peripheral vision in his left eye started to go.

Carson explained, "It wasn't completely gone, but it was muddy. I couldn't really make anything out."

His eye was dilated, which hid his condition. Then he was misdiagnosed, and treated with steroids.

"After that treatment, my eyesight got worse and it crossed over the center of my eye and continued all the way up to the top," Carson said.

By the time he was diagnosed with nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, the vision in his eye was gone. Blood flow had been cut off to the optic nerve, causing swelling and vision loss. There's no standard treatment. But now, UCLA's Doctor Peter Quiros is part of a study on QPI1007, a drug that's injected into the eye. It blocks a messenger that tells troubled cells to die.

"So it blocks that signal, that death signal, and so the hope is that we can block the signal long enough, the cells will eventually recover from being swollen and instead of dying they'll go back to recovery and functioning," Peter Quiros, MD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Neuro-Ophthamology, Doheny Eye Center at the University of California, Los Angeles told Ivanhoe. (Read Full Interview)

Phase one trial patients had no bad reactions and slightly better results than the control group did.

Doctor Quiros continued, "In the best of all possible worlds, we'd like to reverse some of the vision loss. We may not be able to reverse all of it but it would be nice if we could even get some improvement, because up to now, we have no improvement."

Steve is watching closely, as there's a 15 percent chance of this happening to his other eye.

Doctors don't know exactly what causes stroke of the eye, but say obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol may be factors. To qualify for the QPI1007 trial, you must be 50 to 80 years old, have had no treatment for the episode, and have onset of symptoms in the last 14 days. There are 89 study locations all over the world.

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Janett Mendez
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