New Study Suggest Anti-VEGF Therapy is Better than PRP for Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

Patients of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are vulnerable to Diabetic Retinopathy, which is a medical condition that affects the retina in the eye region causing partial or complete blindness. A recent study conducted by a team of six South Korean scientists from Chungnam National University Hospital, Konyang University Hospital, and Nuri Eye Hospital shows how two treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy offer different results in patients.

The study, published in the Nature journal earlier this week, runs a comparison between the modern Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) therapy and the panretinal photocoagulation (PRP).

Before we dive into the results of these two treatments, it is imperative to know how the two therapies are different. Traditional PRP therapy is known as the mainstay of therapy for retinal diseases. In this medical procedure, doctors create thermal burns in the peripheral retina leading to tissue coagulation. After this procedure, patients experience improved retinal oxygenation and clarity in vision.

On the other hand, anti-VEGF therapy involves the injection of a medication into your eyes, and the binding action of the medication prevents VEGF from interacting with endothelial receptor sites. This stops or slows the blood vessel leaking and extra vessel growth found in the retina which causes retinopathy.

In their study, the team of scientists divided patients into two groups: patients treated with bevacizumab, the anti-VEGF medication and those treated with PRP. Patients visited the retinal clinic at gaps of one, three, and six months post treatment. To arrive at their conclusion, researchers analysed retinal layer thickness and vessel density (VD) using optical coherence tomography angiography. 37 eyes in the bevacizumab group and 36 eyes in the PRP group were enrolled for this study.

The study found that patients treated with anti-VEGF displayed Best Corrected Visual Acuity (BCVA). “In the bevacizumab group, the final BCVA was better than the baseline BCVA, although it was not statistically significant,” mentioned the study. Patients treated with the PRP group showed a “significant increase in inner retinal layer thickness” and exhibited a decrease in BCVA over time, whereas the bevacizumab group with a significant reduction in the inner retinal layer thickness showed an increasing tendency concerning BCVA, found the study.

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