At a press conference held on Thursday 26 May the President of the Spanish Vitreoretinal Society (SERV) and Medical Director of Vissum, Professor, José María Ruiz Moreno, presented the findings of the First Survey on Diabetic Macular Oedema, sponsored by the Bayer laboratories in Spain and approved by SERV, the Groups Studying Diabetes in Primary Care Network (RedGDPS) and the Spanish Diabetes Federation (FEDE).

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of legal blindness in adults under 50 years of age, although a majority of the Spanish population is unaware of this fact.

The survey, which involved 1,000 people aged between 30 and 65, also revealed that only about 3 in 10 (26%) know with any certainty that a patient with diabetes should have an eye test at least once a year and only 32% had heard of diabetic retinopathy.

In fact, younger adults, aged between 30 and 49 years are those who mostly, and incorrectly, think that glaucoma is the main consequence of diabetic retinopathy.

The president of the Spanish Diabetes Federation (FEDE), Andoni Lorenzo, said “prevention must be the way to avoid possible complications related to diabetes. Especially after seeing the results of this survey that show that, although a fairly high percentage of citizens know that blindness is a possible complication related to this condition, only 26% know the official recommendation of having an eye test once a year; this is serious and we must work to increase this number”.

Dr. Ruiz Moreno highlighted the importance of early diagnosis: “In order for this to occur screening campaigns are being organised in Spain among diabetic patients, involving taking photographs of the back of the eye using retinography. Following this, if retinopathy is diagnosed early, before the patient has any symptoms, they are referred to an ophthalmologist for specific diagnostic tests for macular oedema, which is detected by optical coherence tomography, a highly reliable test which does not cause the patient any discomfort“.

The main treatment applied at present, and the most recently developed, said Dr. Ruiz Moreno, is the injection of antiangiogenic drugs.