Uveitis Patients Can See Clearly Now

Implant device appears to protect uveitis patients against blindness from inflammation

(RxWiki News) An implant device that releases medication in the eye appears safe and effective against uveitis, a group of inflammatory eye diseases.

Uveitis causes 10 percent to 15 percent of the cases of blindness in developed countries, according to researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute. The researchers created an an intravitreal (located within the vitreous fluid of the eye), bioerodible implant that successfully and safely delivers dexamethasone, a glucocorticoid medication, to the back of the eye chamber.

The finding is good news for patients who do not tolerate or respond to systemic corticosteroids, the mainstay therapy for uveitis.

Researchers conducted a 26-week randomized trial involving 229 uveitis patients. A total of 77 patients received an implant with .7 milligrams of dexamethasone, 76 received an implant with .35 milligrams of the medication and 76 underwent a placebo procedure.

Eyes were evaluated for vitreous haze -- the inflammation that obscures vision -- eight weeks later and were scored on a 4-point scale with zero indicating no inflammation and four indicating severe inflammation. Some 47 percent of the eyes surveyed with the .7-milligram implant had an inflammation score of zero. The same score was reported in 36 percent of those with the .35-milligram implant and in 12 percent of those who underwent the mock procedure. An average score of 2 was recorded in patients prior to the surgery.

The benefit from the new treatment persisted throughout the 26-week study.

Review Date: 
January 12, 2011