Five out of every 1000 people over the age of thirty will suffer from some form of RVO (retinal vein occlusion). In RVO, the retinal vein becomes blocked (occluded), causing fluid to build up in the retina and the macula to swell and thicken. This thickening, called macular edema, can cause severe vision loss.
Because of the swelling in their eyes, people with macular edema have trouble with everyday activities like reading, watching TV, and driving. People with RVO have many direct medical costs from this condition, but they also have indirect costs such as loss of income. Previously, procedures such as surgery and laser photocoagulation have been used to treat RVO and macular edema, but these are not always effective.
There is good news, however. Allergan, Inc., a company devoted to developing pharmaceuticals for commercial use, has released a product called Ozurdex which has been clinically proven to treat RVO. Ozurdex is a tiny rod-shaped implant which doctors inject directly into the eye. The rod dissolves and releases dexamethasone, a steroid that reduces inflammation in the eye.
When compared with a placebo, Ozurdex significantly improved patients’ vision and reduced swelling. Research shows that after 8 weeks, 43% of the people who received Ozurdex had vision improvement of at least three lines on an eye chart, and 47% were considered inflammation free.
Ozurdex will help many people suffering from RVO, as well as those affected by diabetic retinopathy, a similar disorder common in diabetic patients. If you have been diagnosed with RVO or diabetic retinopathy, please contact an ophthalmologist near you to discuss your treatment options and to set up an initial consultation today.