This health video will focus on how a tiny tablet could make a giant difference in the fight against blinding diseases.
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Jennifer Matthews: The eyes, they are sometimes referred to as the windows to the soul. When disease affects them, the result can be devastating. Consider this, some 80 million Americans suffer potentially blinding eye conditions. While medications can help many of the conditions, Dr. Suber Huang says most treatments are less than picture perfect. Dr. Suber Huang: You only need an infinitesimal amount of medication. If you need to ingest medication though, the volume of distribution is the whole body in order to get a certain level into the eye. Jennifer Matthews: Now, doctors are taking a closer look at a new treatment, an implant called Envision TD. Dr. Suber Huang: By using a small device, a small implant, the amount of drug used that can be less, but the dosages to the eye can be higher. Jennifer Matthews: A tiny incision is made and the tablet implanted. Dr. Suber Huang: This coated tablet slowly wears away, slowly dissolves with time and it's the slow and very predictable release of medicine that has its greatest effect. Jennifer Matthews: Doctors at 81 centers worldwide are studying the implant for uveitis, an inflammation in the eye. Images taken throughout the treatment are sent here where they are evaluated for changes. In the future, the treatment may be used for more than uveitis. Dr. Suber Huang: A lot of diseases, in fact most of the blinding diseases in the world, could potentially be affected by using this technology. Jennifer Matthews: Not bad for a procedure that takes about 20 minutes and may last up to three years. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.