Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Better vision ahead for many diabetic retinopathy patients

Diabetic retinopathy clinical research network study finds new treatment more effective

A nationwide, government-sponsored study finds that people with a common form of diabetic retinopathy can benefit from a medication first developed to combat another potentially blinding disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Treating diabetic macular edema (DME) with ranibizumab (Lucentis) eye injections, plus laser treatment if needed, appears to result in better vision than laser treatment alone, according to the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research (DRCR) Network study published today in Ophthalmology online, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy). DME is the main cause of vision loss in people with diabetes mellitus.

At the one year follow-up, nearly 50% of study patients who received the new combined treatment had substantial improvement in vision, compared with 28% who received laser treatment alone. Laser treatment has been the standard of care for DME for 25 years.

"The results appear to be applicable to most people who have DME in the center of the macula with some vision loss, whether the person has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, is old or young, or is a woman or a man," said Neil M. Bressler, MD, the Chair of the nationwide DRCR Network, and Chief of the Retina Division, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

"This is a seminal study of which ophthalmology should be very proud," said George A. Williams, MD, an Academy board member and Ophthalmology Department Chair, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. "First and most importantly, it provides patients an improved therapy for diabetic macular edema. Second, the DRCR Network study is the first multi-center, randomized clinical trial to show how ranibizumab and the laser work together to improve treatment."

The DRCR Network investigators studied 854 eyes (691 participants) at 52 clinical centers across the United States, and compared four treatment modalities: ranibizumab plus prompt laser treatment, ranibizumab plus deferred laser treatment (provided at 24 weeks or later, if indicated), a coritcosteroid (triamcinolone) eye injection plus prompt laser treatment, or prompt laser treatment alone.

At the one year follow up patients who had received ranibizumab with prompt or deferred laser treatment had, on average, significantly better visual acuity than the group treated with laser alone. Also, significantly more patients in the ranibizumab-treated groups gained vision, and fewer suffered vision loss. In patients who entered the study after having cataract surgery and lens implants, results for corticosteroids plus laser treatment appeared comparable to the ranibizumab results, but intraocular pressure (IOP) increased in some corticosteroid-treated patients. Elevated IOP is undesirable because it can increase the risk of glaucoma. Negative outcomes were minimal in patients treated with ranibizumab. Results at two years were comparable to year one, but the researchers urge further study to confirm the longer-term safety and effects of ranibizumab for diabetic macular edema patients.

"In the brave new world of health care reform, the DRCR Network will serve as a model for future comparative effectiveness studies," Dr. Williams said.

The Academy will review the DRCR Network results and recommendations to determine whether, going forward, ranibizumab plus laser treatment should be a preferred treatment for most patients with diabetic macular edema with characteristics similar to those enrolled in this DRCR Network study.

Drs. Bressler and Williams emphasize that people with diabetes should ask their ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) if the new treatment approach might be appropriate for them. Although ranibizumab is an FDA-approved drug for AMD, it is not yet specifically approved for use with DME. Not every insurance company covers its use for DME at this time, since the definitive DRCR Network study results have just been published, although some insurance companies currently do cover this use based on previous smaller studies with briefer follow-up. Also, the DRCR Network study did not evaluate a very similar drug, bevacizumab (Avastin), so definitive confirmation of its potential effectiveness in DME is not yet available.

Eds: Full text of the study is available from the Academy's media relations department.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons—Eye M.D.s—with more than 27,000 members worldwide. Eye health care is provided by the three "O's" – opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists. It is the ophthalmologist, or Eye M.D., who can treat it all: eye diseases and injuries, and perform eye surgery. To find an Eye M.D. in your area, visit the Academy's Web site at

Mary Wade | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Solid progress in carbon capture

27.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>