UIC LogoThis news seems to talk about the possible treatment options about adult blindness. A study claims that a drug could be more effectual against the major cause of adult blindness as compared to laser treatments.

Study authors at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine took part in a national multi-center trial comparing treatments for diabetic macular edema, a swelling of the retina linked to diabetes. This is claimed to be one of the leading causes of blindness among adult Americans.

The study examined the treatment by injection of the drug ranibizamb, promoted by Genentech as Lucentis, by comparing it to laser treatment, which has supposedly been the standard of care for the past 25 years. The study tracked around 691 people who apparently had one or both eyes treated at 52 sites, counting UIC.

“The study shows the power of targeted treatment for diabetic macular edema. We were able to achieve much higher visual acuity improvements than ever before,” commented, Dr. Jennifer Lim, professor and Charles I. Young Chair of Ocular Research in Ophthalmology and Visual Science at UIC and a site principal investigator on the study.

Patients were indiscriminately allocated to four treatment groups. One of them is sham injections in addition to immediate laser treatment in a week. The second one is ranizumab injections including prompt laser treatment. The third one is ranizumab plus delayed laser treatment post six months or more. Moreover, the 4th treatment group was injections of a corticosteroid drug plus prompt laser treatment.

Following a year, almost half the eyes treated with ranizumab appeared to exhibit considerable eye improvement. Patients could read at least two supplementary lines on an eye chart before treatment. Outcomes were said to be similar whether ranizumab treatment was seemingly escorted by immediate or postponed laser treatment. Less than 5 percent of patients in the ranizumab treatment groups apparently underwent a visual loss of two or more lines.

Just roughly 30 percent of patients obtaining laser treatment alone or corticosteroid plus laser apparently enhanced their capability to read two or more lines on an eye chart, while 13 to 14 percent of eyes in these groups encompasses a visual loss of two or more lines.

The discoveries appeared to reaffirm a previous, smaller study that compared ranibizumab alone against ranibizumab plus laser treatment or laser alone. In that study, following six months, the ranibizumab-alone eyes also did best and there seems to be unpublished data that proposes the outcomes held after one year as well. This was mentioned by Lim.

Lim hopes that the high complication rate for patients treated with the corticosteroid could aid in ending the use of this outdated treatment alternative.