Diabetic macular edema (DME), which affects 30% of people who have had diabetes for 20 or more years, is a result of diabetic retinopathy that causes fluids to collect in the macula. For a number of years, laser therapy had been one of the standard diabetic retinopathy treatments as well as treatment for DME, as it had the ability to cauterize leaky vessels or create a pattern of burns that would help reduce edema. Anti-vascular endothelial growth factors, or Anti-VEGFs, have more recently been developed to aid in the treatment of DME. However, they can also be extremely expensive.

Recent research has determined that combining laser therapy with Anti-VEGFs can help increase the beneficial effects of diabetic retinopathy treatments. Anti-VEGFs are used in conjunction with laser based corrective eye procedures. After testing is performed and a treatment plan is outlined, anti-VEGF medication will be administered via an injection directly to the eye. These medications improve the effectiveness of laser treatments, while also reducing downtime, risk of complications and even treatment frequency.

Laser eye procedures are targeted to the affected areas with a high degree of certainty, but cells surrounding the treatment area are often impacted. Recent upgrades to laser diabetic retinopathy treatments allow for pattern scanning, which delivers targeted energy to help lower negative side effects including damage to the surrounding regions. Anti-VEGFs may not be recommended for all patients with endothelial growth issues.

Retina specialists are targeting their focus on this combination therapy as it ultimately delivers the best results to patients. Patients with diabetic macular edema may benefit from anti-VEGFs, but the treatment does not always result in the best results. Anti-VEGF medicine is administered to the eye by way of a minute injection. Infection and eye tissue damage may result from anti-VEGF injection, which is a complication that could potentially be risky for some patients.

Anti-VEGFS stop or reduce the overproduction of blood cells and vessels in the eyes at the source. Patients with diabetic macular edema have often chosen between different types of laser surgery in the past, with anti-VEGFs only becoming an option recently. Doctors are optimistic that more patients with diabetic macular edema will benefit from a laser surgery, anti-VEGF combination therapy, and come up with new ways to permanently eradicate the disease. Anti-VEGF and laser therapy is one of the few diabetic retinopathy treatments that has been shown to restore 20/20 vision in multiple cases, which is one of the main reasons that retina specialists recommend it so often.