Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the leading cause of vision loss in diabetic patients. Panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) — a laser treatment that inhibits blood vessel growth in the eye — is the standard treatment. However, it does not always prevent visual loss and can cause side effects, such as diabetic macular oedema (DMO).
Research by the Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network (DRCR.net) has found that ranibizumab, licensed for DMO, could be an alternative for PDR patients.
Two years of ranibizumab injections in 191 eyes resulted in a mean visual acuity improvement of +2.8 letters compared with +0.2 in 203 eyes treated with PRP. In addition, peripheral field loss was worse, and DMO was more likely in the PRP group.
Writing in JAMA (online, 24 November 2015)
, the researchers say the findings show that ranibizumab is a reasonable alternative to PRP for PDR, although longer follow-up is needed.