A new research done among Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites showed that the drug ranibizumab, prescribed to treat age-related vision loss or macular degeneration also reverses vision lost by diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema are the leading causes of vision loss in working-age adults in the United States, according to the National Eye Institute.
Laser surgery is the standard treatment for advanced stages of the disease, characterized by blurred vision, but previous research has shown that only 30 percent of patients saw improvement in their vision.
Lead author Rohit Varma from the University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute said that 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.
Varma's team developed a population-based model that suggests that administering 0.3 milligrams of ranibizumab every four weeks to patients with diabetic macular edema would reduce the number of cases of vision impairment by 45 percent, or 5,134 individuals, and the number of cases of legal blindness by 75 percent, 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 United States for whom ranibizumab treatment could be used and 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.
It appears in the online edition of journal Ophthalmology.