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Eye (Lond). 2002 Nov;16(6):689-93.

The role of serum lipids in exudative diabetic maculopathy: is there a place for lipid lowering therapy?

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Department of Medicine, Central Middlesex Hospital, London, UK.


Diabetic maculopathy is a common complication of diabetes mellitus, characterised by macular oedema and frequently accompanied by lipid exudation. It is the major cause of loss of vision from diabetic retinopathy. There is some evidence to implicate serum lipids in exudative maculopathy; cross-sectional studies suggest that higher serum lipid levels are found in patients with macular exudates, and prospective studies have shown an increased risk of exudative maculopathy if baseline cholesterol is higher. The treatment for diabetic maculopathy is laser photocoagulation of the pigment epithelium. With the advent of systemic lipid lowering therapy over the last decade, there may be potential for medical therapy also. There is some anecdotal evidence of the effect of lipid lowering agents (particularly statins) in reducing exudate, and a number of studies have shown that lipid lowering therapy may reduce macular exudates, but numbers in these trials are small. A randomised controlled trial is now required to investigate whether the use of systemic lipid lowering therapy is of benefit in patients with exudative maculopathy, even in the absence of dyslipidaemia.

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