A new medication may reduce risk of vision loss with new oral medicaiton
A multicentre international study chaired by a Joslin Diabetes Center investigator brings hopeful news to the 18 million people in the United States – and millions more worldwide – with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Loss of vision is a common complication of diabetes and results from two primary conditions: diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. In diabetic retinopathy, tiny blood vessels in the retina become damaged. While early in the disease (the nonproliferative stage) there are often no symptoms, over time new, abnormal blood vessels proliferate and bleed easily.
If untreated, proliferative diabetic retinopathy can cause severe vision loss. In diabetic macular edema, leaky blood vessels cause swelling in the macula – the part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. Current laser treatments for diabetic eye diseases may help prevent severe vision loss, but because the laser destroys areas of the retina, side effects of treatment may include reduction in peripheral vision or night vision.
The study was conducted at Joslin Diabetes Centre, medical centres across the United States as well as in Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and United Kingdom.
The findings were published in Diabetes.
“Our results demonstrate that although RBX did not prevent progression to proliferative diabetic retinopathy, it may reduce the risk of moderate vision loss caused by macular edema,” said study chairman Lloyd Paul Aiello, MD, PhD, head of Joslin’s Section on Eye Research, director of Joslin’s Beetham Eye Institute and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. “If these findings hold true in a currently ongoing larger clinical trial, then RBX may eventually offer a new treatment option for patients with diabetes, especially in light of the lack of serious side effects reported to date.
The PKC-DRS study was funded by Eli Lilly and conducted by the PKC-DRS Study Group.

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