Drug reverses vision loss caused by diabetes

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Washington | Published: February 19, 2015 4:28:28 PM

A prescription drug commonly used to treat age-related vision loss can also reverse vision loss caused by diabetes...

diabetes, diabetes cure, pill, Drugs, diabetes pill, Vision reverse DrugDiabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema are the leading causes of vision loss in working-age adults in the US, according to the National Eye Institute in Maryland. (Reuters)

A prescription drug commonly used to treat age-related vision loss can also reverse vision loss caused by diabetes, scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found.

Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute found that the drug, Ranibizumab, reversed vision loss caused by diabetes among Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites.

“We found that ranibizumab can save the sight of thousands of working-age individuals suffering from diabetic eye disease, as standard treatments such as laser are not as effective,” said Rohit Varma, director of the University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute, professor and chair of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the study’s lead author.

Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema are the leading causes of vision loss in working-age adults in the US, according to the National Eye Institute in Maryland.

Laser surgery is the standard treatment for advanced stages of the disease, characterised by blurred vision, but previous research has shown that only 30 per cent of patients saw improvement in their vision.

Varma’s team developed a population-based model that suggests that administering 0.3 milligrammes of ranibizumab every four weeks to patients with diabetic macular edema would reduce the number of cases of vision impairment by 45 per cent, or 5,134 individuals, and the number of cases of legal blindness by 75 per cent, or 1,275 individuals.

The model was based on the approximately 37,000 Hispanic and non-Hispanic white adults with diabetic macular edema in the US for whom ranibizumab treatment could be used, researchers said.

Because other race and ethnic groups were not included in the study, authors contend that the treatment may benefit even more people than their results show.

Ranibizumab is manufactured and marketed by Genentech Inc under the trade name Lucentis.
The study was published in the journal Ophthalmology.

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