LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Stroke of the eye is a frightening condition that causes people to lose half their vision in a matter of hours or days.
It strikes up to 6,000 people a year in the U.S. according to the NIH, and doctors have never been able to successfully treat it. More on a new drug that's showing benefit.
Steve Carson was 45 when the peripheral vision in his left eye started to go.
Carson explained, "It wasn't completely gone, but it was muddy. I couldn't really make anything out."
His eye was dilated, which hid his condition. Then he was misdiagnosed, and treated with steroids.
"After that treatment, my eyesight got worse and it crossed over the center of my eye and continued all the way up to the top," Carson said.
By the time he was diagnosed with nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, the vision in his eye was gone. Blood flow had been cut off to the optic nerve, causing swelling and vision loss. There's no standard treatment. But now, UCLA's Doctor Peter Quiros is part of a study on QPI1007, a drug that's injected into the eye. It blocks a messenger that tells troubled cells to die.
"So it blocks that signal, that death signal, and so the hope is that we can block the signal long enough, the cells will eventually recover from being swollen and instead of dying they'll go back to recovery and functioning," Peter Quiros, MD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Neuro-Ophthamology, Doheny Eye Center at the University of California, Los Angeles told Ivanhoe.
Phase one trial patients had no bad reactions and slightly better results than the control group did.
Doctor Quiros continued, "In the best of all possible worlds, we'd like to reverse some of the vision loss. We may not be able to reverse all of it but it would be nice if we could even get some improvement, because up to now, we have no improvement."
Steve is watching closely, as there's a 15 percent chance of this happening to his other eye.
Doctors don't know exactly what causes stroke of the eye, but say obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol may be factors. To qualify for the QPI1007 trial, you must be 50 to 80 years old, have had no treatment for the episode, and have onset of symptoms in the last 14 days. There are 89 study locations all over the world.
Contributors to this news report include: Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Rusty Reed, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: STROKE OF THE EYE
REPORT: MB #4329
BACKGROUND: NAION stands for Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy and it is the most common cause of acute optic nerve injury in individuals age 50 years and older. The optic nerve is like a video cable that connects to your eye; it processes the signals from the eye to create vision. NAION interrupts these signals which results in defects in vision and sometimes vision loss. Symptoms include sudden, painless vision loss in one eye. It may appear as a blurring in the center, lower or upper portion of the eye, or the entire scene. Typically it only occurs in one eye, and eye pain is rare. Severe pain is very rare. Pain on eye movement is extremely rare. Commonly patients will complain that they cannot see objects below their straight-ahead line of sight. Vision loss can worsen over days to a week.
DIAGNOSING: NAION is not due to emboli or blood clots from the heart or carotid artery; however, it is associated with similar risk factors that can cause heart attacks and strokes. Patients are evaluated for high cholesterol/blood pressure, diabetes or high blood sugar, heart disease, sleep disorders, and carotid artery narrowing. From the outside the eye may appear normal, however, the doctor will evaluate for abnormal visual acuity, specific defects in the measure of their field of vision, and swelling in part of the optic nerve. It is not the only cause of abrupt vision loss, and at this time, there is no therapy that has proven effective. (Source: https://www.nordicclinicaltrials.com/what-is-naion)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: A new study is being conducted on a drug called QPI1007. It is injected into the eye and blocks a messenger that tells troubled cells to die. By blocking the signal researchers hope that if it is blocked long enough, the cells will eventually recover instead of dying off. Phase one trial patients had slightly better and no bad reactions than the control group did. To qualify for this study, you need to be between the ages of 50 to 80 years old, have had no prior treatment for the episode, and have had an onset of symptoms in the last 14 days. You also need to have been told by your doctor that the affected nerve is swollen. The trial is now in phase two/three, clinical trials are described in phases one through five; however as in this case, two and three can be combined. For more information visit clinicaltrials.gov.
Peter Quiros, MD)
MORE FROM STEVE CARSON: "[Prior to the diagnosis] they treated me for the inflammation of the nerves with steroids. At that time they did not know what was causing the inflammation, and did not check with my PCP to see if I was healthy enough for the steroid treatment. I believe I was not, and I also believe that the treatment made my condition worse. At the time of the steroid treatment I had high BP and cholesterol."
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