Arlington Memorial Hospital Leads Nation in Use of Vision-Restoring Therapy|
ARLINGTON, Texas – For patients suffering from uveitis – a disease that causes vision-impairing inflammation of the eye – their whole lives are sometimes held hostage while undergoing traditional medical treatments. In Arlington, Tex., patients are getting their lives back through an innovative optical procedure.
Arlington Memorial Hospital leads the nation in the use of a revolutionary new technology called Retisert™ that delivers inflammation-reducing medication directly into the eye for up to 30 months. The drug delivery technology was developed by Bausch & Lomb to treat chronic noninfectious uveitis, a potentially blinding condition of the posterior segment of the eye. David Callanan, M.D., retinal surgeon on the medical staff of Arlington Memorial Hospital, has performed more Retisert procedures than anyone in the country. All of them have taken place at Arlington Memorial Hospital.
In the United States, an estimated 175,000 people suffer from uveitis, which tends to strike between the ages of 10 and 50. Symptoms include redness and irritation of the eye, blurred vision, eye pain, light sensitivity and floating spots.
Patients with uveitis experience damaging inflammation in the posterior (or back) segment of the eye, which leads to vision loss and possibly glaucoma. According to Dr. Callanan, treatments are designed to first prevent further loss of vision and second, to try to reverse the damage caused by the inflammation. The inflammation caused by uveitis leads to cell death in the eye. But the Retisert treatment “eliminates the inflammation, prevents further damage and then reverses the effects” of the disease, says Dr. Callanan.
About the size of a grain of rice, Retisert consists of a tiny reservoir designed to deliver consistent levels of fluocinolone acetonide, an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid, directly to the back of the eye for almost three years. The steroid reduces the inflammation, offering relief and improved vision.
“Even with all the drugs, they would have flare-ups of uveitis,” says Dr. Callanan. With Retisert, “they can go back to having a normal life – no flare-ups.”
The use of Retisert “provides a more effective type of treatment,” Callanan continued. “It's a whole paradigm shift of caring for and treating the disease.”
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