ILUVIEN A Treatment that Works with Your Schedule
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Madeline Dodson is a recently retired newlywed who worked for the children’s special needs program in Dekalb County, Georgia. She loves to swim, crochet, and read but, like so many people, Dodson’s life is impacted by diabetes. She has a family history of diabetes on both sides of her family. Her mother and father were both diabetics as well as her maternal grandmother and grandfather.
Dodson was first diagnosed with diabetes when she was around 35 years old. As she was on her way to work, she saw black spots floating around in her vision. She immediately visited her ophthalmologist who then recommended her to see retina specialist, Dr. Vanderveldt.
When Dodson first met with Dr. Vanderveldt, she had very mild diabetic changes, but Dr. Vanderveldt continued to keep an eye on Dodson and monitor her symptoms because she was concerned that Dodson might develop more diabetic macular edema over time. As Dodson’s symptoms progressed, she was given Anti-VEGF injections to treat her symptoms. Dodson had to go into the doctor’s office as often as every three weeks to receive this treatment.
With Dodson’s career driven mindset and lifestyle, consistently receiving these treatments caused her some worries and anxieties about how it would impact her life. The treatments required Dodson to physically go into the doctor’s office, so she had to adjust her work schedule to attend the appointments. She had to ask friends or family to drive her to the appointments. If she had to get her eyes dilated, she couldn’t drive herself back from the appointment on her own.
As Dodson continued treatment, she occasionally could not get to the doctor’s office due to work and other responsibilities. This made it difficult for Dodson to consistently get the treatment she needed. However, Dr. Vanderveldt told Dodson she could go blind if they didn’t do something to treat Dodson’s vision loss.
“She needed to be at work and working on her career, and it was difficult – as it is for many patients with diabetes – to give as many days to doctor’s visits as treatment requires,” Dr. Vanderveldt said regarding the burden on Dodson to maintain her treatment regimen.
To combat the transportation and scheduling challenges, Dr. Vanderveldt suggested using a steroid treatment instead of the Anti-VEGF injections. With the ILUVIEN steroid treatment, Dodson wouldn’t have to come into the office quite as often as she had to in the past. The other medications Dodson tried before were working, so Dr. Vanderveldt believed Dodson would be a good candidate for the ILUVIEN treatment.
In 2018, Dr. Vanderveldt gave Dodson an ILUVIEN injection, and Dodson’s diabetic macular edema was controlled. The medication was a micro-implant that released low doses of a corticosteroid which reduced inflammation in Dodson’s retina.
Since then, her vision improved, and it has remained consistent. Dodson now can drive on her own and pursue her passions with ease. The issues she faced with diabetic macular edema in the past were no longer as great of an issue once Dodson received the ILUVIEN treatment.
“The reality is that diabetes is a chronic illness,” Dr. Vanderveldt said. Dodson understands that she will most likely need to receive another dose of treatment in the future. For now, she continues to respond beautifully to the first ILUVIEN treatment. Dr. Vanderveldt said it was reassuring to know that ILUVIEN is a long-acting medication that can maintain consistent vision in many patients.
The ILUVIEN treatment lasts for up to 36 months and, because of its long-lasting effects, Dr. Vanderveldt doesn’t have to see ILUVIEN patients quite as frequently. She can now focus her time and mental energy on providing other appropriate patients with the help that Dodson received. Dr. Vanderveldt said ILUVIEN allows patients to be on a “cruise control” path where they receive DME treatment without having to constantly come into the doctor’s office.
ILUVIEN made a big difference in Dodson’s life by restoring her vision and allowing her to continue doing the things she loved. She recommends that all DME patients ask their doctors if ILUVIEN is a good option for them. If she started to experience vision loss symptoms again, Dodson said she would pick up the phone and call Dr. Vanderveldt.
DME can be prevented and treated, so don’t wait to see your eye doctor if you are experiencing vision loss or other symptoms of DME. To learn more about how ILUVIEN could help you, visit us at iluvien.com/talk-doctor.
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