Macular degeneration treatment may be a cure for blindness


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 31 at 6:01 PM

(WHAS11) -- Scientists may be on the verge of closing in on a cure for blindness.

 77-year-old James Craig of Scottsburg started noticing a big change in his vision in 2005.

"It all started by seeing wavy lines," said James Craig. "Like you look at a utility pole and it would be real wavy, and you are driving down the highway and the white line would be real wavy."

At the urging of his wife, Craig visited an eye doctor and they discovered Craig wasn't just seeing things,  his condition was serious.   He had an eye disease called macular degeneration.

It's a condition that affects 1.25 million Americans.

Advanced macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness, but with early diagnosis and  the right treatment, the actual progression of the disease can be stabilized.

Doctor Howard Lazarus is a Retina expert at John-Kenyon American Eye Institute and is treating Craig.

Craig gets a shot in the eye every 8 weeks. Just a few years ago it was a treatment researchers looked at in clinical trials. Today it's making a difference.

Since Craig's condition  was caught early, Dr. Lazarus is seeing a difference.

"We have stabilized him," said Dr. Howard Lazurus.  "He has excellent vision. When we go longer between treatments we can see the problem returning . But we are able with repeated treatment to keep him out of trouble, keep him well."

He'll continue to need the treatments throughout his life, but it has afforded him the opportunity to see and enjoy the simple pleasures all around him.

"It does work . It's not something that may work or not work . But the sooner the better," says Craig.

A number of clinical trials on vision loss continue at Floyd Memorial and across the country.

To find out more on macular degeneration and the treatments, call the John Kenyon American Eye Institute at (800) DIAL-EYE or visit their website.