Associate Professor Lyndell Lim
Patients with diabetes can now undergo cataract surgery with more confidence and avoid previously common sight-threatening complications, thanks to a CERA trial that ended in 2018.
Historically, people with diabetes were counselled against cataract surgery because it caused or accelerated diabetic macular edema (DME) and there were no effective treatments, says Principal Investigator in Clinical Trials Research, Associate Professor Lyndell Lim.
While cataract occurs in almost half of the population over 50 years of age, patients with diabetes develop it more frequently and at an earlier age.
Over three years, the team at CERA tested and compared two treatments injected into the eye of patients with DME undergoing cataract surgery.
These two treatments, the steroid triamcinolone and the anti-VEGF agent bevacizumab, were then given as required for up to 12 months after surgery.
The DiMECat trial was able to prove that both treatments reduced the development or progression of DME after cataract surgery, with good visual outcomes.
These results will set a new standard of care around the world, particularly in developing countries where the steroid triamcinolone is more readily available than anti-VEGF agents like bevacizumab.
“Clinicians now know that it is relatively safe to proceed to cataract surgery in this group of patients, so long as one of these two treatments is given at the time of surgery and repeated post-operatively,” says Associate Professor Lim.