Over 25 million people in the United States suffer from type 1 and 2 diabetes and it remains the main cause of blindness in people aged 20yrs t 74yrs.
With the effects from the diabetes to contain sufferers are also at risk of diabetic macular edema which affects the centre of the retina. If fluid leaks into the macula it will blur vision as a result of the swelling. Two years ago, it was reported that just under 4 million patients who were diabetic had reported issued with their vision. Now they may benefit from a monthly injection which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat diabetic macular edema. The drug used is Lucentis. It can help restore lost vision in addition to controlling patients blood sugar levels.
Prior to using the drug for treatment of diabetic macular edema, two studies were necessary to test Lucentis' effciciency and safety. A group of patients were assigned at random to receive an injections of Lucentis at 0.3 mg or 0.5 mg, or no injections at all for 2 years. After 24 months, all the patients received the drug at the previous level monthly.
The improvement to study subjects vision was measured via an eye chart. The report found that 34 to 45 percent of those treated, using 0.3 mg of Lucentis gained 3 lines of vision further to testing on the eye chart. Those that had had the 0.5 mg dose showed no additional benefit. They were reports of side effects including bleeding of the conjunctiva,floaters, eye pain and in some cases intraocular pressure.
Lucentis had already been approved for the treatment of macular edema following retinal vein occlusion. It was also approved for wet age-related macular degeneration prior to this study.