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Introduction to Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Edema

People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing several eye health conditions, including diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Current treatments require regular injections in the eye, which can be uncomfortable and time-consuming. Researchers have recently discovered a potential alternative treatment in the form of a simple eye drop.

New Eye Drop Shows Promising Results

A new eye drop treatment called EXN407 has been developed by Exonate Ltd., a company that specializes in therapies for retinal diseases. According to Dr. Loic Lhuillier, chief operating officer of Exonate and presenting author of the study, an increasing number of patients need less invasive treatments for diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. In their phase 1b/2a clinical trial, researchers found the eye drops to be both safe and tolerable, with significant improvements observed in participants’ eye health.

  • 100% of the study participants completed the trial without any major serious adverse effects reported.
  • There was a significant decrease in central macular thickness after 85 days of use.
  • Inhibition of further increases in vascular leakage was observed in those using the eye drop.

A Game-Changer for Diabetic Patients With Early-Stage Eye Disease

One of the main problems encountered by individuals with eye conditions related to diabetes is the lack of non-invasive treatment options, especially during the early stages of the disease. Often, these patients are placed on a “watch and wait” cycle until their condition progresses to a more advanced stage, at which point they are prescribed anti-VEGF injections. The availability of a non-invasive eye drop treatment could help prevent further progression of the disease, significantly improving the quality of life for millions of people.

Phase 2b Study: Investigating the Effects of EXN407 in Advanced Stage Disease

The next step for Exonate’s research is to conduct a phase 2b trial that will focus on participants with more advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy and macular edema. Dr. Lhuillier explains that this stage is essential in order to demonstrate the efficacy of EXN407 in both early and late-stage diseases. The results from these trials could potentially pave the way for the widespread use of the eye drops as a non-invasive treatment option for patients suffering from diabetic eye diseases.

Potential Prescription Timeline

According to Dr. Lhuillier, the trials required to determine the effectiveness of EXN407 will involve treating patients for several months or longer. As a result, it is not expected that the eye drops will be available as a prescription before 2031. Despite this timeline, the prospect of a non-invasive alternative to current treatments has been met with enthusiasm from medical professionals.

Experts Weigh In on New Treatment

Dr. Benjamin Bert, a board-certified ophthalmologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, believes that the development of an eye drop treatment that can simply be administered twice a day as opposed to invasive procedures offers significant benefits for patients. This includes reducing risks such as damage to the eye and infection rates.

Director of optometric refractive services at Gordon Schanzlin New Vision in La Jolla, California, also commented on the study, stating that it offers great promise to diabetic patients dealing with eye health complications.

Conclusion: A Hopeful Future for Diabetic Eye Care

The development of EXN407 as a viable non-invasive eye drop treatment for diabetic retinopathy and macular edema holds great potential for improving the lives of millions of people living with diabetes. While the road to prescription availability remains long, this breakthrough in research indicates a hopeful future for diabetic eye care.


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