Pursuing Tailored Care for Diabetic Macular Edema

The retina field is equipped with ideal therapy and research informing implementation. Now it needs greater patient buy-in.

Data presented at the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS) 2021 Scientific Meeting this weekend helped improve the interpretation of risk factors linked to diabetic macular edema (DME) improvement or delay with aflibercept intravitreal injections.

The findings, presented by Rishi P. Singh, MD, of the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, not only better inform use of the anti-VEGF therapy for patients with DME—it contributes toward the ultimate goal of retina specialists.

In the second segment of an interview with HCPLive during ASRS 2021, Rishi P. Singh, MD, discussed the pursuit of individualized retina care for each patient: a balance of understood risk factors with appropriate agents to help a patient reach their best possible outcome.

“It’s really common for patients to ask for themselves, ‘What can I do to decrease my frequency of treatment? What can I do to get the best possible outcome?’” Singh said. “And these among other studies are helping us personalize the treatment approach for patients.”

Singh also discussed the continued burden of minimal patient follow-up and its hindrance on retina disease resolution—a factor which was only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Right now, we are being inundated with patients with severe pathology,” Singh said. “The pandemic has really made people delay care, that delay in care has resulted in worse disease, and now we’re making up for it.”

Though retention is a major hurdle, the field is equipped with the right resources for those patients who keep their consistency.

“With good follow-up care and good evaluation, there’s no reason why any of these patients should ever go blind,” Singh said. “Really, there’s just not.”