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Better vision ahead for many diabetic retinopathy patients
Date:4/27/2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CAA nationwide, government-sponsored study finds that people with a common form of diabetic retinopathy can benefit from a medication first developed to combat another potentially blinding disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Treating diabetic macular edema (DME) with ranibizumab (Lucentis) eye injections, plus laser treatment if needed, appears to result in better vision than laser treatment alone, according to the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research (DRCR) Network study published today in Ophthalmology online, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy). DME is the main cause of vision loss in people with diabetes mellitus.

At the one year follow-up, nearly 50% of study patients who received the new combined treatment had substantial improvement in vision, compared with 28% who received laser treatment alone. Laser treatment has been the standard of care for DME for 25 years.

"The results appear to be applicable to most people who have DME in the center of the macula with some vision loss, whether the person has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, is old or young, or is a woman or a man," said Neil M. Bressler, MD, the Chair of the nationwide DRCR Network, and Chief of the Retina Division, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"This is a seminal study of which ophthalmology should be very proud," said George A. Williams, MD, an Academy board member and Ophthalmology Department Chair, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. "First and most importantly, it provides patients an improved therapy for diabetic macular edema. Second, the DRCR Network study is the first multi-center, randomized clinical trial to show how ranibizumab and the laser work together to improve treatment."

The DRCR Network investigators studied 854 eyes (691 participants) at 52 clinical centers across the United States, and compared four treatment modalities: r
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Contact: Mary Wade
mwade@aao.org
415-447-0221
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Source:Eurekalert

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