As a disease, diabetes is the gift that keeps on giving. Instead of settling on occupying the body by itself, diabetes generally brings over a bunch of associated afflictions. Cardiovascular, kidney, nerve, and hearing issues are all liable to pop up, as are Alzheimer’s and several eyesight issues. And those aren’t even half of the complications that can arise from diabetes.
But since there are so many different possible associated symptoms, there is also an equally large number (if not higher) of medicines to fight these health problems. As part of a study published in the journal Ophthalmology, a team of researchers discovered that a certain drug is better than others for diabetic macular edema.
Blurring in the macula
Diabetic macular edema, or DME, is a condition caused by diabetes that starts blurring the patient’s vision in a fashion opposite to glaucoma. Where glaucoma starts blurring the vision from the outside inwards, DME starts from the center of the retina and spreads outwards.
The condition is caused by fluid leaking from blood vessels into the retina as a result of diabetes. DME is progressive, meaning that if left untreated it will spread until leaving the victims unable to see. And the treatments are no walk in the park either, as it requires one of the most unsettling practices in diabetes treatment.
DME sufferers have to inject one of a number of drugs into their eye, thus inhibiting a substance responsible for increasing abnormal growth in the blood vessels and leaking. There are a decent number of medicines that can be used for this, but three or four are the preferred regulars.
20/50 vision or worse
In their attempt to figure out which drug would be the most effective against diabetic macular edema, a team of researchers from the Palmetto Retina Center performed a trial on a moderately large sample of participants. The study was performed in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health.
The researchers looked at 660 patients suffering from DME, with an average age of 61, and all suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes for one year or more. The study lasted for two years, and each patient was administered one of the three most popular drugs for DME – Avastin, Eylea, and Lucentis.
After the two year trial period, the results were clear enough. Patients with 20/40 vision didn’t see any particular differences from the treatment with either medicine. But things changed for the subjects with 20/50 vision or worse.
Eylea patients were obviously seeing better improvements that those on any of two other drugs. After the two years, Eyelea patients could see an additional 3.5 lines on the eyesight testing chart, Lucentis patients could about 3 more lines, while Avastin only improved the subjects’ sight by 2.5 more lines.
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