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The progression of diabetic retinopathy, an eye disease related to the onset of diabetes, may be slowed by injecting steroids directly into the retina, according to new research.
The condition, which affects about 700,000 Americans and can lead to blindness, occurs when new blood vessels form in the retina, according to EScienceNews.com. Control of blood glucose levels can help prevent the disease.
In a recent study, researchers tested the effectiveness of different therapies on 639 patients with macular edema, a condition often associated with diabetic retinopathy which manifests itself by a leakage of fluid into part of the retina.
The testing examined three treatments: photocoagulation, a laser therapy that destroys blood vessels, a 1-milligram injection of the steroid triamcinolone acetonide into the eye every four months and a 4-milligram injection of the same steroid, the news source reports.
According to a report in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, the diabetes-related eye disease had progressed in 31 percent of those treated with photocoagulation - currently the most common therapy.
By comparison, a total of 29 percent of eyes treated with 1-milligram doses of the steroid and 21 percent treated by the 4-milligram dosage faced disease progression.
The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network reports that about 65,000 diabetics develop retinopathy in the U.S. each year.
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