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      Updates in the Management of Diabetic Macular Edema

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          Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease which has multiple effects on different end-organs, including the retina. In this paper, we discuss updates on diabetic macular edema (DME) and the management options. The underlying pathology of DME is the leakage of exudates from retinal microaneurysms, which trigger subsequent inflammatory reactions. Both clinical and imaging techniques are useful in diagnosing, classifying, and gauging the severity of DME. We performed a comprehensive literature search using the keywords “diabetes,” “macula edema,” “epidemiology,” “pathogenesis,” “optical coherence tomography,” “intravitreal injections,” “systemic treatment,” “hypertension,” “hyperlipidemia,” “anemia,” and “renal disease” and collated a total of 47 relevant articles published in English language. The main modalities of treatment currently in use comprise laser photocoagulation, intravitreal pharmacological and selected systemic pharmacological options. In addition, we mention some novel therapies that show promise in treating DME. We also review systemic factors associated with exacerbation or improvement in DME.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Photocoagulation for diabetic macular edema. Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study report number 1. Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study research group.

          Data from the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) show that focal photocoagulation of "clinically significant" diabetic macular edema substantially reduces the risk of visual loss. Focal treatment also increases the chance of visual improvement, decreases the frequency of persistent macular edema, and causes only minor visual field losses. In this randomized clinical trial, which was supported by the National Eye Institute, 754 eyes that had macular edema and mild to moderate diabetic retinopathy were randomly assigned to focal argon laser photocoagulation, while 1,490 such eyes were randomly assigned to deferral of photocoagulation. The beneficial effects of treatment demonstrated in this trial suggest that all eyes with clinically significant diabetic macular edema should be considered for focal photocoagulation. Clinically significant macular edema is defined as retinal thickening that involves or threatens the center of the macula (even if visual acuity is not yet reduced) and is assessed by stereo contact lens biomicroscopy or stereo photography. Follow-up of all ETDRS patients continues without other modifications in the study protocol.
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            Randomized trial evaluating ranibizumab plus prompt or deferred laser or triamcinolone plus prompt laser for diabetic macular edema.

            Evaluate intravitreal 0.5 mg ranibizumab or 4 mg triamcinolone combined with focal/grid laser compared with focal/grid laser alone for treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME). Multicenter, randomized clinical trial. A total of 854 study eyes of 691 participants with visual acuity (approximate Snellen equivalent) of 20/32 to 20/320 and DME involving the fovea. Eyes were randomized to sham injection + prompt laser (n=293), 0.5 mg ranibizumab + prompt laser (n=187), 0.5 mg ranibizumab + deferred (> or =24 weeks) laser (n=188), or 4 mg triamcinolone + prompt laser (n=186). Retreatment followed an algorithm facilitated by a web-based, real-time data-entry system. Best-corrected visual acuity and safety at 1 year. The 1-year mean change (+/-standard deviation) in the visual acuity letter score from baseline was significantly greater in the ranibizumab + prompt laser group (+9+/-11, P<0.001) and ranibizumab + deferred laser group (+9+/-12, P<0.001) but not in the triamcinolone + prompt laser group (+4+/-13, P=0.31) compared with the sham + prompt laser group (+3+/-13). Reduction in mean central subfield thickness in the triamcinolone + prompt laser group was similar to both ranibizumab groups and greater than in the sham + prompt laser group. In the subset of pseudophakic eyes at baseline (n=273), visual acuity improvement in the triamcinolone + prompt laser group appeared comparable to that in the ranibizumab groups. No systemic events attributable to study treatment were apparent. Three eyes (0.8%) had injection-related endophthalmitis in the ranibizumab groups, whereas elevated intraocular pressure and cataract surgery were more frequent in the triamcinolone + prompt laser group. Two-year visual acuity outcomes were similar to 1-year outcomes. Intravitreal ranibizumab with prompt or deferred laser is more effective through at least 1 year compared with prompt laser alone for the treatment of DME involving the central macula. Ranibizumab as applied in this study, although uncommonly associated with endophthalmitis, should be considered for patients with DME and characteristics similar to those in this clinical trial. In pseudophakic eyes, intravitreal triamcinolone + prompt laser seems more effective than laser alone but frequently increases the risk of intraocular pressure elevation. Copyright 2010 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              A randomized trial comparing intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide and focal/grid photocoagulation for diabetic macular edema.

              To evaluate the efficacy and safety of 1-mg and 4-mg doses of preservative-free intravitreal triamcinolone in comparison with focal/grid photocoagulation for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME). Multicenter, randomized clinical trial. Eight hundred forty study eyes of 693 subjects with DME involving the fovea and with visual acuity of 20/40 to 20/320. Eyes were randomized to focal/grid photocoagulation (n = 330), 1 mg intravitreal triamcinolone (n = 256), or 4 mg intravitreal triamcinolone (n = 254). Retreatment was given for persistent or new edema at 4-month intervals. The primary outcome was evaluated at 2 years. Visual acuity measured with the electronic Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study method (primary), optical coherence tomography-measured retinal thickness (secondary), and safety. At 4 months, mean visual acuity was better in the 4-mg triamcinolone group than in either the laser group (P<0.001) or the 1-mg triamcinolone group (P = 0.001). By 1 year, there were no significant differences among groups in mean visual acuity. At the 16-month visit and extending through the primary outcome visit at 2 years, mean visual acuity was better in the laser group than in the other 2 groups (at 2 years, P = 0.02 comparing the laser and 1-mg groups, P = 0.002 comparing the laser and 4-mg groups, and P = 0.49 comparing the 1-mg and 4-mg groups). Treatment group differences in the visual acuity outcome could not be attributed solely to cataract formation. Optical coherence tomography results generally paralleled the visual acuity results. Intraocular pressure increased from baseline by 10 mmHg or more at any visit in 4%, 16%, and 33% of eyes in the 3 treatment groups, respectively, and cataract surgery was performed in 13%, 23%, and 51% of eyes in the 3 treatment groups, respectively. Over a 2-year period, focal/grid photocoagulation is more effective and has fewer side effects than 1-mg or 4-mg doses of preservative-free intravitreal triamcinolone for most patients with DME who have characteristics similar to the cohort in this clinical trial. The results of this study also support that focal/grid photocoagulation currently should be the benchmark against which other treatments are compared in clinical trials of DME.

                Author and article information

                J Diabetes Res
                J Diabetes Res
                Journal of Diabetes Research
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                23 April 2015
                : 2015
                1Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117597
                2Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, 90 Yishun Central, Singapore 768828
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Patrizio Tatti

                Copyright © 2015 Christopher Mathew et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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