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Drug Treatment Slows Macular Vision Loss in Diabetics


More than 4 million diabetics in the United States have diabetic retinopathy and, according to the National Eye Institute, one in 12 of those experience at least some vision loss.

Macular edema, a first stage of retinopathy, occurs when, over time, excess uncontrolled blood sugar damages the tiny blood vessels in the eye, causing fluid and fat to leak onto the retina at the back of the eye. The swelling interferes with focus and blurs vision. Making matters worse, a lack of oxygen often then triggers VEGF’s production cycle.

All 10 subjects in the study had some vision loss at the start of the clinical trial, in which ranibuzumab was administered at the one, two, four and six month marks. The thickness of each patient’s macula was also measured at each point in the study using an advanced digital imaging technique.

“Within a week, several patients experienced dramatic reductions in the thickness of their maculas, and there were further improvements with each injection,” says Peter Campochiaro, M.D., the Dolores and George Eccles Professor of Ophthalmology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who is also an investigator in the study.

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