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I have glaucoma, and have been treated with eye injections and laser surgeries. My right eye has been completely blinded by the glaucoma and from complications associated with cataracts. I currently see very little through my left eye, and have been pronounced legally blind. I am also diabetic. My doctor inserted an implant in the left eye; however, a “film” grew over the eye and the doctor does not want to remove it. The vision in that eye is now cloudy. Does this treatment plan make sense? Is there any hope for me?

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without having examined your eyes personally, knowing a bit more about your complicated history and seeing the results of previous exams and tests, it will be nearly impossible for me to provide an accurate recommendation. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness and can be very difficult to treat. I am guessing that you have diabetes that was not well controlled at some point, which led to the new blood vessel growth in the eye and possibly the formation of cataracts.

When you state that your glaucoma has been treated with injections and laser surgery, that tells me that you do not just have primary open-angle glaucoma; it is more likely glaucoma related to the diabetes (also called neovascular glaucoma). When the diabetes is out of control, the eye creates new blood vessels to try and get oxygen to the eye. Those new blood vessels eventually grow into the front of the eye and they can block its natural drainage system. This can cause an increase in eye pressure (i.e., neovascular glaucoma). You should know that glaucoma is not typically treated by injections; however, the new blood vessel growth (a complication of diabetes) is treated by injections. This is such a complicated case that you would need a full eye exam to determine the appropriate treatment plan, and it may take a combination of doctors. If this is related to diabetic eye disease, I would make sure that you are seeing a retina specialist that can examine the retina and treat the diabetic complications as well as a glaucoma specialist that can treat the increases in eye pressure caused by diabetes. You are dealing with a very serious disease and if you do not get your diabetes and eye pressure under control, you will likely continue to lose vision and could easily become blind in both eyes. I am sorry that you are having all of these difficulties, and I know it can be scary. I wish you the best of luck.

Posted 30 Mar 2011

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