The FDA approved drug Ozurdex (dexamethasone intravitreal implant) is the first effective treatment of macular edema following either branch or central Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO), a disease that affects one in 200 people over the age of 30. The condition is caused by a blockage in the veins that take blood away from the retina.
Sufferers suddenly notice the vision in one eye has become blurred or distorted.
Controlled clinical studies have shown that Ozurdex can reduce swelling at the back of the eye. By reducing macular edema, it may help reverse some of the vision loss due to retinal vein occlusion. A third of patients experienced a significant improvement in their vision within 2 months of the injections, compared with only 7% of patients who received a placebo injection.
The Orudex implant is injected into the eye through a small needle. During the procedure patients are awake. According to the manufacturer, the injection is generally well tolerated and is over in seconds. The Ozurdex capsule is just 6mm long and releases the active ingredient over a period of six months before harmlessly degrading.
After receiving Ozurdex, patients can typically see an extra three lines on an eye chart. Ian Pearce, a consultant ophthalmologist of The Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said “The evidence is that 30% of patients might get that benefit. It’s very significant. This drug could make the difference between driving and not driving, reading and not reading.”
Here at Word on Health, we’ll certainly be keeping our eye out for it!