Mississippi’s First Procedure with Retisert™ May Help Save Eye Sight from Uveitis

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Mississippi's first procedure for fighting Uveitis was performed at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson.

It puts the medication directly on the area of inflammation. This procedure is done if a person is unable to tolerate the other treatments or if one or both of the other treatments have failed.

Ophthalmologist James D. Fly, M.D., of Mississippi Retina Associates, performed Mississippi’s first procedure for treating chronic non-infectious Uveitis, a sight-threatening inflammatory disease affecting the posterior segment of the eye, at Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.

The procedure consists of implanting Bausch & Lomb's Retisert ™, a tiny drug reservoir designed to deliver sustained level levels of the well-known corticosteroid fluocinolone acetonide directly to the back of the eye, lasting for approximately three years.

“Uveitis can be caused by a number of reasons, and can even lead to blindness,” said Dr. Fly. “Sarcoid, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are some of the diseases leading to Uveitis , and most of the patients we will treat with Retisert are legally blind.”

One of the first patients in Mississippi to receive the implant was part of the FDA study a few years ago. This 45-year-old male has Uveitis, and its origin is unknown. Dr. Fly added the patient was excited when the FDA approved the procedure. In December 2005, this patient received the implant in both eyes a week apart from each other, and his vision continues to get better.

Dr. Fly stated it generally takes about a month for most patients to notice an improvement in their vision following the procedure. However, in clinical studies 90 percent of the patients showed improved vision. Prior to the development of the Retisert implant, treatment methods for Uveitis included only large doses of oral steroids such as prednisone or immunosuppressive therapy.

“The advantage of this treatment is it doesn’t produce the systemic complications or side effects of the other treatments,” Dr. Fly added. “It puts the medication directly on the area of inflammation. This procedure is done if a person is unable to tolerate the other treatments or if one or both of the other treatments have failed.”

The procedure can be done on virtually any adult. It is conducted as an outpatient procedure done with local anesthesia. The procedure involves making an incision in the sclera through which the tiny Retisert device is implanted. Then the pellet slowly releases the cortisone over time.

Contact the Baptist Health Line at 1-800-948-6262 or 601-948-6262 or visit http://www.mbhs.org.

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Robby Channell
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