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Interventions for diabetic macular oedema: a systematic review of the literature
  1. M O’Doherty,
  2. I Dooley,
  3. M Hickey-Dwyer
  1. Limerick Regional Hospital, Limerick, Ireland
  1. Dr M O’Doherty, Limerick Regional Hospital, Limerick, Ireland; maeveodoherty{at}


Objectives: This review discusses the evolution of the treatment of diabetic macular oedema and gives helpful guidelines in the treatment of diabetic macular oedema based on available evidence to date.

Methods: A literature search of all English articles from the Medline and Cochrane database was performed. The search was limited to only English randomised controlled clinical trials in humans. Overall, 93 articles were cited from 1979 to 2007. Of these, 31 articles corresponded to subject matter. Studies were evaluated on a standardised data extraction form and tabulated for easy review.

Results: There is good evidence that laser treatment preserves vision in eyes with diabetic macular oedema (DMO). However, laser is a potentially destructive form of treatment which may be of greater benefit in combination with newer forms of treatment such as intravitreal steroid or intravitreal antiangiogenic agents. Current evidence does not support a clear benefit for surgical intervention in DMO.

Conclusions: Although laser treatment remains the cornerstone of treatment in diabetic macular oedema, the literature is beginning to support combination therapy. Using one or two intravitreal injections to reduce central macular thickness followed by focal or grid laser to give a sustained response may offer an alternative to treatment in DMO.

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  • Competing interests: None.