The IMO is taking part in a study on intravitreal drugs used to treat diabetic macular oedema

Dr Navarro is the coordinator of this study in Spain. The trial is expected to last for one year and seeks to compare two treatments based on intravitreal injections to determine which of the two achieves better recovery of the patient's visual acuity

Dr Rafael Navarro announced at the “Diabetes and Vision” conference held at IMO to mark World Diabetes Day, that IMO is taking part in an international and multicentre clinical trial for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema. Diabetes is a very significant risk factor for vision and high levels of blood sugar for long periods of time can mean that the “diabetic eye” of people with diabetes becomes particularly delicate and can develop different ocular complications.

At present, treatments for retina pathologies in diabetic patients -laser photo-coagulation, intravitreal injections or vitrectomy- are able to slow down the disease's evolution and can improve the patient's visual prognosis. As regards intravitreal injections, Dr Rafael Navarro announced that IMO is currently taking part in an international and multicentre clinical trial on the treatment of diabetic macular oedema diabetic retinopathy that most damages vision, due to ponding of the macula or central retina area, which is where the detailed vision that enables us to read, drive or recognise faces is concentrated.

The trial is expected to last for one year and seeks to compare two treatments based on intravitreal injections to determine which of the two achieves better recovery of the patient's visual acuity It relates to Dexamethasone injections (corticosteroids), which reduce vascular permeability, have an anti-inflammatory effect and are indicated for oedema following retinal vein occlusion, the action of which lasts for approximately four months in the eye, after which time the injection should be repeated.

The other drug being assessed in the study is anti-VEGF, which acts against the endothelial vascular growth factor, which plays a very important role in the formation of the oedema. Its action lasts for approximately one month; thus this treatment calls for a greater number of injections than treatment with Dexamethasone.

Main cause of blindness in people of working age

It is estimated that over half of people suffering from diabetes for more than 15 years present some sign of diabetic retinopathy, the main cause of severe vision loss in people of working age in developed countries. Although it is estimated that diabetic patients are up to 25 times more likely to suffer complete loss of sight than people without the disease, there is no reason why the visual impairment that results from diabetes should necessarily become severe. This will depend on the time passed since the onset of the disease and the level of control of the same by the patient.