In this medical video learn how a new drug could stop the vision loss that often accompanies diabetes.
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Jennifer Matthews: From toddlers to teenagers, Karen Poenisch has raised two sons, despite what doctors once told her. Karen Poenisch: The worst thing I could do was have a baby, and it was right after we got married. Jennifer Matthews: Karen has lived with diabetes for 41 years and faces an eye disease complication of it called retinopathy. Karen's vision loss has been mild, but doctors' feared pregnancy could make it worse. Karen Poenisch: To have none was just devastating. We really wanted children. Jennifer Matthews: But against the odds, Karen took her chances. Today her vision is good enough to make jewelry, but that doesn't mean it'll stay that way forever. Laser eye surgery can help her, but doctors don't usually offer laser surgery until vision gets really bad because of its side effects. Dr. Louis Vignati: As a physician, we don't want to get to that point. We want to preserve vision, not allow people to lose vision, and not perhaps need other therapies. Jennifer Matthews: Dr. Vignati is studying a new option. The drug Arxxant works by blocking damage to blood vessels in the eye. In a study of patients with retinopathy, the drug reduced vision loss by about 40 percent. Stopping Diabetic Vision LossArxxant is up for FDA approval. Dr. Vignati says doctors could potentially use it as a way of preventing retinopathy instead of just keeping it from getting worse, but so far, they've only studied it in patients who already have eye disease. In the study, there were no major side effects to it. Dr. Louis Vignati: I think it's actually terrific. To me this is something that you can actually offer somebody, that benefits someone you know. Jennifer Matthews: Someone like Karen -- Karen Poenisch: I think it would be wonderful. Jennifer Matthews: -- who would like to see everything and right ahead. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.