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BLINDNESS AND DIABETES

ANCHOR LEAD:  DIABETES CAN CAUSE BLINDNESS, BUT NOW A NEW TREATMENT MAY PREVENT IT.  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

People with diabetes can develop an eye condition called diabetic macular edema, where swelling in the back of the eye can lead to blindness.  A Johns Hopkins study led by Neil Bressler has shown that the drug Lucentis, used to treat another common eye condition, can help.  Bressler says the condition can affect anyone with diabetes.

BRESSLER: This swelling of the retina tissue, the light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye, really can affect anyone with type one or type two diabetes.  Certainly if you have diabetes for over twenty years you’re at very high risk of developing this swelling.  And unfortunately, even people who have type two diabetes for only a few years may already manifest this swelling.  This is one of the reasons we recommend that anyone with diabetes be sure that they have a regular annual exam of their eyes because this damage often can begin without any effect on the vision.         :33

Regular eye exams can also assure prompt treatment and vision preservation.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

 


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