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Changing paradigms in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy

Abu El-Asrar, Ahmed M; Al-Mezaine, Hani S; Ola, Mohammad Shamsul

Current Opinion in Ophthalmology: November 2009 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 532–538
doi: 10.1097/ICU.0b013e328330b533
Ocular manifestations of systemic disease: Edited by Russell W. Read

Purpose of review To review current treatment approaches in diabetic retinopathy.

Recent findings Diabetic retinopathy remains one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Strict metabolic control, tight blood pressure control, laser photocoagulation, and vitrectomy remain the standard care for diabetic retinopathy. Focal/grid photocoagulation is a better treatment than intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide in eyes with diabetic macular edema. The current evidence suggests that intravitreal triamcinolone acetonide or antivascular endothelial growth factor agents are effective adjunctive treatment to laser photocoagulation or vitrectomy. However, triamcinolone is associated with risks of elevated intraocular pressure and cataract. Vitrectomy with removal of the posterior hyaloid without internal limiting membrane peeling seems to be effective in eyes with persistent diffuse diabetic macular edema, particularly in eyes with associated vitreomacular traction. Emerging therapies include islet cell transplantation, fenofibrate, ruboxistaurin, and intravitreal hyaluronidase.

Summary A variety of promising new medical and surgical therapies are emerging, but more randomized controlled clinical trials are required to clarify their role alone or in combination.

Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence to Ahmed M. Abu El-Asrar, MD, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Old Airport Road, PO Box 245, Riyadh 11411, Saudi Arabia Tel: +966 1 4775723; fax: +966 1 4775724; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.