Diabetic Retinopathy: Exciting New Treatment Options

Diabetic Retinopathy - New Treatment Options

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of permanent vision loss among working-age individuals in the United States. Currently, there are excellent treatment options available either commercially or in research trials.

In the video below, Dr. Omar Punjabi discusses the newest treatments and clinical trials taking place for diabetic retinopathy.

If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.

Diabetic retinopathy treatments

The Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network is a network of retina specialists that are actively studying this disease in research trials, and are working towards finding the newest and best treatments for blinding complications of diabetes in the eye.

Several newer imaging methods can non-invasively and quickly detect retinal problems early in diabetic eyes.

RELATED: Macular Degeneration: Exciting New Treatment Options

This is what diabetic retinopathy looks like.

Office-based laser procedures are commercially available now and have been shown to reduce retinal swelling, and block the progression of blood vessels that cause complications in diabetics.

There are exciting new injectable medications that block Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), a molecule that leads to complications in the retina.

Currently, the commercially available anti-VEGF treatment agents include:

Avastin treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Bevacizumab (Avastin)

Lucentis treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Ranibizumab (Lucentis)

Eylea treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy

Aflibercept (Eylea)

These medications have excellent success rates for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and have saved vision in a lot of patients.

Clinical Trials

Other experimental molecules are currently being tested in clinical trials. There are newer steroid based implants that can last a long time in the eye and maintain vision in diabetics. In fact, one of these implants can last up to 3 years in the eye!

RELATED: 4 Benefits of Clinical Trials In Eye Care

If you want to learn more about these exciting new treatments, make sure you schedule an appointment with your local eye care professional today!

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Omar Punjabi, MD is a retina specialist and vitreo-retinal surgeon at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates (CEENTA) in Charlotte, North Carolina. He completed his fellowship training in retinal diseases and vitreo-retinal surgery at the prestigious Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Punjabi has published over 25 peer-reviewed articles and presented numerous scientific abstracts and text-book chapters. During fellowship he received the Best Fellow Teacher of the Year award, and was the recipient of the Heed Fellowship from the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation. He has won several academic awards and scholarships during his residency training at Northwestern University and during medical school. Prior to his residency training, he spent a year as a research fellow at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, FL and worked on the development of the spectral domain OCT. He has received several research awards including the Beem-Fisher Award in 2010, the Research Award from Northwestern University in 2010 and the National Eye Institute travel grant in 2006. Dr. Punjabi is an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Retina Specialists, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the Society of Heed Fellows. His areas of interest include medical and surgical diseases of the retina and vitreous, including retinal detachment, age-related macular degeneration, retinal vascular diseases, diabetic retinopathy and ocular trauma.