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LUCENTIS VIDEO: Lucentis Good For Diabetic Eye Disease (Interview with Dr. Michael Elman, MD, Johns Hopkins)
LUCENTIS VIDEO: Lucentis Good For Diabetic Eye Disease (Interview with Dr. Michael Elman, MD, Johns Hopkins)

(April 29, 2010 - Insidermedicine)

Injecting the eye with a drug that blocks blood vessel growth may become the new standard of care for the treatment of swelling of the retina associated with diabetes, according to research published in the latest issue of Ophthlamology.

Here is some information about diabetic macular edema:

•    It is a condition in which blood vessels in the eyes, damaged by diabetes, leak fluid into the center of the retina, causing swelling

•    Untreated, it causes loss of central vision

•    It is a leading cause of blindness among diabetic individuals

Researchers representing the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network randomly assigned over 850 eyes affected by macular edema belonging to nearly 700 individuals with diabetes to one of four treatments: Injections with a drug that stops blood vessel growth known as Lucentis plus prompt laser treatment, Lucentis injections plus laser treatment that was deferred for six months or more, injections with a corticosteroid drug that reduces swelling plus prompt laser treatment, and prompt laser treatment combined with a sham injection in which no active drug was delivered.

More than 50% of the eyes that were treated with Lucentis showed improvements in vision, regardless of whether laser treatment was delivered within a week or only after six months or more. This improvement resulted in participants’ being able to read two more lines on an eye chart than they could read before or being able to read letters that were one-third smaller than the smallest letters they could read before. In addition, less than 5% of eyes treated with Lucentis had substantial losses in vision. In contrast, only about 30% eyes treated with laser alone or laser plus corticosteroid injections showed similar improvements, and 13 to 14% had substantial vision losses.

Today’s research suggests that a new and better treatment for diabetic macular edema may be on the horizon.