Diabetic retinopathy is described as a medical condition characterized by damage to the retina due to diabetes mellitus and is majorly caused by the poor control of blood glucose levels.
A recent study was conducted to discover preventive treatments for the disease in patients suffering from diabetes mellitus as it is seen as one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.
About diabetic retinopathy
The initial stages of the disease, non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy or diabetic retinopathy are characterized by abnormal changes in the blood vessels in the eye which don’t affect vision. Development of the proliferative diabetic retinopathy in later stages is possible, where there is an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina, and/or diabetic macular edema, where there is fluid leakage out of the blood vessels in the retina. Both of them can culminate in loss of vision. Vision loss, which is a bad consequence of proliferative diabetic retinopathy can be prevented or slowed down in patients suffering from the ailment if they are treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs and if the medicine is given at the right time.
Some Eylea (aflibercept) injections or sham injections were given to patients suffering from non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy who volunteered as participants for the research. These participants were given either the Eylea injection or a sham injection. They were put under examination for months and then finally they were examined regularly every four months for two years. They received Eylea or sham injection at each monthly visit. The visual acuity and the severity of the participants’ diabetic retinopathy were followed up by the researchers involved in the study. During times when there was progression in disease, without regard to the group the participants belonged to, Eylea was given more frequently to them per accepted practice. But when no improvement was seen after treatment with anti-VEGF drugs, laser surgery or photocoagulation could be given to them if deemed fit.
About 328 participants were used for the study. The developmental rate of proliferative diabetic retinopathy stood at 33% in the control group, while that of the treatment group stood at 14%. The developmental rate of diabetic macular edema stood at 15% in the control group, while that of the treatment group was at 4%. Besides these, the researchers noted that both groups had the same loss of visual acuity, suggesting that the use of standard treatment for the medical condition is enough for the prevention of loss of vision.
The accepted treatments for the prevention of blindness or loss of vision are highly recommended. There may still be other researches on this and a breakthrough may be forthcoming but for now, the standard treatment remains the best treatment.