By: Brenda Neugent
A drug traditionally used to treat age-related macular degeneration has been successful in also treating diabetic macular edema in recent trials.
According to Bayer, which co-developed the drug along with Regeneron, the drug VEGF Trap-Eye, also known as Eylea, has reached goals established by the companies during year-long, Phase 3 trials.
Diabetic macular edema, which impacts about 10 percent of those with diabetes, leads to leaking blood vessels that cause swelling of the retina and resulting blurred vision. It is traditionally treated with lasers that are used to seal fluid leaks.
Eylea is currently used to treat neovascular (also known as wet) age-related macular degeneration, which is caused by the leaking of blood and fluid into the retina, leading to distortion and loss of vision.
The drug is administered through monthly injections.
Regeneron plans to seek approval to market the drug in the United States sometime later this year, about a year earlier than initially intended.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in addition to diabetic macular edema, those with diabetes are also at a higher risk of diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and retinal detachment.
For optimum eye health, the organization recommends annual comprehensive eye exams, maintaining low blood sugar levels to prevent damage to blood vessels in the eyes, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, getting plenty of exercise, and not smoking.