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Ophthalmology. 2002 May;109(5):920-7.

Intravitreal triamcinolone for refractory diabetic macular edema.

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Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.



To determine if intravitreal injection of triamcinolone acetonide is safe and effective in treating diabetic macular edema unresponsive to prior laser photocoagulation.


Prospective, noncomparative, interventional case series.


Sixteen eyes with clinically significant diabetic macular edema (CSME) that failed to respond to at least two previous sessions of laser photocoagulation.


Eyes were diagnosed with CSME and treated with at least two sessions of laser photocoagulation according to Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study guidelines. At least 6 months after initial laser therapy, the response was measured by clinical examination and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Eyes with a residual central macular thickness of more than 300 microm (normal, 200 microm) and visual loss from baseline were offered intravitreal injection of 4 mg triamcinolone acetonide. The visual and anatomic responses were observed as well as complications related to the injection procedure and corticosteroid medication.


Visual acuity and quantitative change in OCT macular thickening were assessed. Potential complications were monitored, including intraocular pressure response, cataract progression, retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, and endophthalmitis.


All patients completed 3 months of follow-up, and 8 of 16 patients (50%) completed 6 or more months of follow-up. Mean improvement in visual acuity measured 2.4, 2.4, and 1.3 Snellen lines at the 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-up intervals, respectively. The central macular thickness as measured by OCT decreased by 55%, 57.5%, and 38%, respectively, over these same intervals from an initial pretreatment mean of 540.3 microm (+/-96.3 microm). Intraocular pressure exceeded 21 mmHg in 5, 3, and 1 eye(s), respectively, during these intervals. One eye exhibited cataract progression at 6 months. No other complications were noted over a mean follow-up of 6.2 months. Reinjection was performed in 3 of 8 eyes after 6 months because of recurrence of macular edema.


Intravitreal triamcinolone is a promising therapeutic method for diabetic macular edema that fails to respond to conventional laser photocoagulation. Complications do not appear to be prohibitive. Further study is warranted to assess the long-term efficacy and safety, and the need for retreatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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