Southern Eye Center is first in Southern region to offer special eye surgery

Southern Eye Center is first in Southern region to offer special eye surgery

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a press release from Southern Eye Center

Diabetic macular edema, a common but potentially devastating complication of diabetic retinopathy, is a major cause of vision loss in the U.S. A new intraocular steroid device, however, shows much promise in treating this condition.

Southern Eye Center in Hattiesburg is the first practice in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Southern Alabama to offer the Iluvien® intravitreal implant to treat patients with diabetic macular edema. Unlike standard treatment with intraocular injections, which may need to be given as frequently as every month, Iluvien offers a long-term treatment option.

Iluvien, approved by the FDA in 2014, is a medication delivery system – a miniature medical device – that is implanted inside the eye, in an office setting. It allows a continuous low-dose of steroids to treat the retina over a 36-month period. Iluvien releases fluocinolone acetonide, a type of corticosteroid that reduces swelling and inflammation in the eye, a major factor in diabetic macular edema.

"People with diabetes type 1 and type 2 are both at risk for diabetic retinopathy and macular edema," said Jaime Jiménez, M.D., Retina Surgeon at Southern Eye Center. "This risk increases with the duration of the disease. Because the disease may cause no symptoms until it has progressed significantly, annual eye exams are vital to vision loss prevention."

Diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels in the retina, causing them to weaken and swell the surrounding tissue. Eventually the blood vessels may bleed and leak fluid into the center of the retina, an area

called the macula. The macula is the area of the retina that allows you to see small, sharp details.

As fluid accumulates in the macula, the tissue malfunctions and leads to vision loss. In the early stages, vision may be blurry, but without effective treatment, significant permanent visual loss may occur.

"Laser therapy has been shown to improve further progression of diabetic macular edema, but it does not work for everyone," notes Abumere Akinwale, M.D., Retina Surgeon at Southern Eye Center. "Clinical studies show that Iluvien can improve visual acuity and decrease inflammation in the eye."

In addition, implanting Iluvien for long-term treatment avoids the risks associated with frequent injections in the eye. Iluvien does not affect blood pressure or blood sugar levels in the body.

All ocular treatments involving steroids, including lluvien, require careful monitoring.

To find out if Iluvien is right for you, call Southern Eye Center now at 601-264-EYES (3937) or visit to schedule your appointment online.