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Saving a diabetics' vision

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Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 4:01 pm | Updated: 4:42 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

Diabetes affects 26 million people in the U.S. and is the leading cause of new blindness in adults. Now, for the first time in a long time, the FDA has approved a drug to help save diabetics' vision.

Tax Accountant John Dunn has had diabetes for 20 years but he had no idea it was hurting his eyes. "I was having a lot of headaches and I thought it was the stress of tax season."

A routine eye exam showed he had Diabetic Macular Edema, or DME. "I think I could have lost my vision."

Instead, Doctor Allen Ho was able to save John's sight with Lucentis. A drug used for years to treat macular degeneration that was just FDA approved for DME. "It's the first new treatment for patients with diabetes and diabetic macular edema in 25 years."

Traditional laser treatments focused on stopping a patient's sight from getting worse but couldn't restore vision. Doctor Ho says Lucentis can. "This drug is really a miracle drug."

It's injected directly into the patient's eyes. Doctor Ho says the number of injections needed varies patient-to-patient. "It usually feels like a little pinch. Patients are nice and numb."

The injections have restored john's vision to almost 20-20. Now he's grateful for the gift of sight and focused on managing his diabetes.

The doctor tells us far too many diabetics have no idea that diabetes can affect the eyes. He recommends diabetics get an eye exam at least once a year, whether they are having vision problems or not.

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