Diabetic retinopathy treatment requires a team approach. A care team comprises primary care physicians, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists and other specialists. To gain insights into the emerging approaches from the ophthalmologist’s perspective, DiabetesSeries Live created “Achieving Better Outcomes for Patients With Diabetic Retinopathy: The Expanding Role of the Ophthalmologist.”
This interactive presentation features speakers Andrew A. Moshfeghi, MD, MBA, Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine; Manju Subramanian, MD, Associated Professor in Ophthalmology at the Boston University School of Medicine; and Timothy Murtha, MD, Clinical Instructor in Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.
Diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (DME) are often the result of a chain reaction of causes, including chronic hyperglycemia, inflammation, ischemia and excessive production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Because VEGF contributes to both diabetic retinopathy and DME, targeting VEGF with drug treatments can help a patient preserve vision, according to Dr. Moshfeghi.
Dr. Moshfeghi discusses the impact of VEGH and other medications. He also covers lifestyle changes such as blood pressure and blood sugar management. Medication needs to be given in context with lifestyle changes and monitored and adjusted as needed.
Know the Benefits of Medical Management and Anti-VEGF Injections
Improving control of blood sugar levels and addressing hypertension can help slow diabetic retinopathy’s progression, according to Dr. Murtha. For this reason, the presenters insist the entire medical team must be involved to ensure proper management of diabetic retinopathy.
Anti-VEGFs are another consideration that doctors may recommend – but patients are often alarmed at the thought of intravitreal eye injections. Drs. Murtha and Moshfeghi discuss ways to calm patient fears about this beneficial treatment. Multiple research studies have shown these injections can be beneficial and our video discusses the specific benefits.
“We’ve convinced the medical community that anti-VEGF’s are appropriate, but it’s a little harder to convince our patients,” Dr. Murtha says.
Long-Term Outcomes of Anti-VEGF Injections
While new therapies are always on the horizon, Dr. Subramanian says research has shown treatments like anti-VEGF can help a person maintain beneficial, long-term outcomes for diabetic retinopathy. She analyzes multiple clinical studies including the Rise & Ride Study, DRCR.net Protocol I, and the RESTORE study to illustrate the long-term value of anti-VEGF treatments for those with diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, she presents various case studies to further emphasize the success of this treatment across a range of patients.
“This is a chronic condition that often mandates aggressive, consistent and long-term exposure to anti-VEGF therapy,” Dr. Subramanian says. “Early and consistently compliant treatment can slow progression and can lead to slowing and even cessation of treatment in later years.”
For more information on helping patients with diabetic retinopathy, please watch “Achieving Better Outcomes for Patients With Diabetic Retinopathy: The Expanding Role of the Ophthalmologist” for CME credits on DiabetesSeries Live.
Disclaimer: “All PlatformQ Health articles, reports, summaries, and recaps of events are for informational purposes. The quotes and opinions of the speakers covered are not to be taken as direct advice for individual patients. Patients should always seek care from qualified, properly accredited healthcare professionals.”