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From Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA:

I have type 2 and cataracts which my eye doctor says should be checked every six months, but I have no health insurance so I haven't seen him for over two years. I called into an "ask the doctor" session discussing cataracts, and I explained my situation and asked if there are any programs that could help me, and the doctor suggested becoming part of a clinical trial for lens implants. He said the procedure is used in Europe, but needs trials to be approved by the FDA here in the USA. Are you familiar with this procedure? Do you see any danger in taking part in such a trial?


It is standard practice to monitor cataract progression about every six months, and you did not mention if you also have another diabetic problem, retinopathy. What is of more concern in your situation is that by not having an exam in over two years, you have gone without retinal monitoring as well. Cataracts can be removed and sight restored with good probability, but if retinal damage is occurring as a result of your diabetes and is going undetected you may lose vision that cannot be restored.

There are clinical trials for surgical devices such as lens implants and for new medical therapies for blood sugar control. Clinical trials are a way that you can receive care and supplies at minimum or no cost and that could be of some benefit. However, if you have diabetic retinopathy this may exclude you from any trials on lens implants.

I recommend that you search for a facility in your area that can provide you with eye care according to your ability to pay. If there is a medical school with an ophthalmology department they may provide you with assistance. The same is true for any colleges of optometry. There may be a free clinic in your area staffed by voluntary optometrists or ophthalmologist. Your county hospital may be another resource. You might try to contact the state Optometric and Ophthalmological Associations. These associations may provide you with a referral. There are "Give A Day" programs where a volunteer provider will provide an exam at a reduced fee or for free.

The danger lies in going without appropriate care both for your eyes and your general health.


Original posting 18 Nov 2001
Posted to Complications


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:28
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