MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeffrey R. Willis MD, PhD
UC Davis Eye Center
University of California, Davis
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Yet there is limited national level data on the impact of worsening DR on quality of life and visual function.
Our study aimed to address this knowledge gap by evaluating the functional burden of DR across severity levels, utilizing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
We found that one-half of US adults with severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) had difficulty with ≥ 1 visual function task, possibly impacting their daily work/activities. These patients reported a significantly greater vision-related functional burden relative to those with less severe forms of DR.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Our results reinforce the importance of preventing severe forms of DR. Specifically, our findings suggest the importance of a comprehensive approach in not only preventing severe levels of DR, but also regressing severe levels of DR through the promotion of lifestyle, systemic medical, and focused retinal interventions.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Future studies should aim to complement our study by studying the impact of DR on objectively measured outcomes such as physical balance, falls, and reading speed. In addition, future studies should aim to assess the potential visual function benefit of regressing DR through anti-VEGF therapy.
Disclosure: Dr. Willis conducted this work while he worked as a Clinical Fellow at Genentech.
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Willis JR, Doan QV, Gleeson M, Haskova Z, Ramulu P, Morse L, Cantrell RA. Vision-Related Functional Burden of Diabetic Retinopathy Across Severity Levels in the United States. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online July 27, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.2553
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