FDA approves drug for diabetics

NBC News

Lucentis was approved by the FDA. Doctors are calling it a breakthrough drug for diabetic patients. It helps diabetics who have bleeding and swelling in the back of their eyes. The drug was tested out in a clinical study right here in Fort Myers.

NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral

When life became a blur, Fob Sheeley says he thought, “My glasses are bad and I need to see an eye doctor to get a prescription.”

He says he had no idea his diabetes had spun out of control.

“It was pretty scary when he explained, ‘Your eyes are hemorrhaging and we have to remove legions,’” Sheeley remembered.

Sheeley first tried laser treatments, but they left permanent black spots in his vision. So when he heard about a breakthrough drug, the news brought him to Dr. Ashish Sharma, with Retina Consultants of Southwest Florida.

There, doctors introduced him to Lucentis.

It’s a drug that is already in use, but is now FDA approved for diabetic patients with bleeding and swelling in the back of their eyes.

“Injected directly into the eye so the medicine can have access to blood vessels in the back of the eye in the retina,” Dr. Sharma explained.

Dr. Sharma entered Sheeley into a free clinical study. And over the course of 3 years Dr. Sharma watched his eyes dramatically change.

Since the treatment he’s responded very well his visual acuity that improved dramatically and the swelling is completely resolved,” said the doctor.

But not everyone has been so lucky. About 45-percent of patients in the clinical study showed results like his.

Sheeley says he believes the change in his diet helped boost the drugs effects.

The better I ate, the more I did to get my diabetes under control – the better results I had when I went to visit,” he said.

He hasn’t needed an injection in two years.

“My vision’s good. I can see 20/20,” he said.

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