What are the approach considerations in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy?

Updated: Sep 02, 2021
  • Author: Abdhish R Bhavsar, MD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Controlling diabetes and maintaining the HbA1c level in the 6-7% range are the goals in the optimal management of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. If the levels are maintained, then the progression of diabetic retinopathy is reduced substantially, according to The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. [12]

The Early Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy Study [28] has found that laser surgery for macular edema reduces the incidence of moderate visual loss (doubling of visual angle or roughly a 2-line visual loss) from 30% to 15% over a 3-year period.

Two-year results from the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research network (DRCR.net) Randomized Trial Evaluating Ranibizumab Plus Prompt or Deferred Laser or Triamcinolone Plus Prompt Laser for Diabetic Macular Edema, known as the Laser-Ranibizumab-Triamcinolone for DME Study, demonstrated that ranibizumab paired with prompt or deferred focal/grid laser treatment achieved superior visual acuity and optical coherence tomography (OCT) outcomes compared with focal/grid laser treatment alone. In the ranibizumab groups, approximately 50% of eyes had substantial improvement (10 or more letters) and 30% gained 15 or more letters. Intravitreal triamcinolone combined with focal/grid laser did not result in superior visual acuity outcomes compared with laser alone, but did appear to have a visual acuity benefit similar to ranibizumab in pseudophakic eyes. [33]

The Diabetic Retinopathy Study has found that adequate scatter laser panretinal photocoagulation reduces the risk of severe visual loss (< 5/200) by more than 50%. [29]

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