SAN FRANCISCO, CA---This month's Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, reports on use of bevacizumab (Avastin), to benefit diabetic patients with macular edema as well as people who develop cystoid macular edema after cataract surgery. Bevacizumab is also used to treat some cancers. Another study describes methods that could make cataract surgery safer for diabetic retinopathy (DR) patients. DR is the major threat to vision in working-age people, a problem that will only intensify if cases triple by 2050 as predicted.
New Treatment Succeeds after Laser Fails in Diabetic Patients; Treatment also Controls Cystoid Macular Edema after Cataract Surgery
DR damages the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye, the area that transmits images to the optic nerve. In type 2 diabetes patients, retinopathy vision loss most often results from macular edema (DME), swelling and thickening of the macula in the retina's center. Laser treatment is usually able to reduce vision loss, but widespread, diffuse DME (DDME) is often resistant to laser and other standard treatments.
Treating DMME with bevacizumab (Avastin), an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medication that inhibits abnormal blood vessels, was studied in115 patients (139 eyes) by the Pan-American Collaborative Retina Study Group, led by J. Fernando Arevalo, MD, of the Caracas Central Ophthalmologic Clinic, Venezuela. Within one month of the initial intravitreal bevacizumab (IVB) injections, improvement could be detected. By the end of the 24 month follow-up period vision had improved in 51.8 percent of eyes, and 97.1 percent of eyes were either stable or improved. No serious adverse effects occurred.
The Pan-American Collaborative Retina Study Group also reviewed the use of bevacizumab in patients with post-cataract surgery cystoid macular edema (CME) who had not responded to standard treatment. Twenty to 30 percent of a
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American Academy of Ophthalmology