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Eye injections of the drug Lucentis (also known as ranibizumab) appear to be useful in the treatment of a potentially blinding eye condition called macular oedema that can trouble people with diabetes.

In diabetic macular oedema, fluid accumulates in part of the retina responsible for central vision. Increased expression of the growth factor known as VEGF is thought to play a role in macular oedema. Therefore, treatments that block VEGF, like ranibizumab, could potentially be useful.

Previous reports have shown ranibizumab to be effective in cases of age-related macular degeneration. In the current study, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, USA, investigated the effects of ranibizumab in 10 patients with diabetic macular oedema. The subjects were given intraocular injections of ranibizumab at the start of the study and at 1, 2, 4, and 6 months.

At the 7-month checkup, researchers noted a significant drop in macular thickness and improvement in activity in study subjects. The eye injections were well tolerated and were not associated with any side effects.

Though the above findings are promising, a study to investigate the long-term benefits of ranibizumab for diabetics with macular oedema is needed.