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Comparative-effectiveness study confirms new treatment for diabetic macular edema
Date:4/27/2010

Researchers have shown that ranibizumab (Lucentis) eye injections, often in combination with laser treatment, result in better vision than laser treatment alone for diabetes-associated swelling of the retina.

Laser treatment alone has been the standard care for the past 25 years. But nearly 50 percent of patients who received this new treatment experienced substantial visual improvement after one year, compared with 28 percent who received the standard laser treatment. The study involved 52 clinical sites within the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net), supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

"These results indicate a treatment breakthrough for saving the vision of people with diabetic macular edema," said Neil M. Bressler, M.D., chair of the DRCR.net and chief of the Retina Division at the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Md. "Eye injections of ranibizumab with prompt or deferred laser treatment should now be considered for patients with characteristics similar to those in this clinical trial."

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss in working-age Americans. This condition damages the small blood vessels in the eye's light-sensitive retinal tissue. When these damaged blood vessels begin to leak fluid near the center of the retina, known as the macula, macular edema occurs. The macula provides detailed central vision used for activities such as reading, driving, and distinguishing faces. In macular edema the retinal tissue swells, which can lead to vision loss if left untreated.

Laser treatment of the retina has been the standard care for diabetic macular edema since an NEI-supported study in 1985 showed it to be beneficial. However, recent small short-term studies have revealed the visual benefits of eye injections of medications that block a ch
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Contact: National Eye Institute
neinews@nei.nih.gov
301-496-5248
NIH/National Eye Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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