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Diabetic Retinopathy is the third leading cause of blindness in the Western world and has recently appeared a new combination of drugs that can help treatment (Somatostatin and Brimonidine), with the advantage that soon may be used topically, in eye drops.

Diabetes is one of the major health problems now and has been said that represents a veritable epidemic of the XXI century. We know that 30% of patients with diabetes will experience changes in the eye, which is known as diabetic retinopathy (DR), which becomes important when statistics tell us that this process is the third leading cause of blindness in the Western world therefore everything is of special interest to help diagnosis and specially early treatment.

Until recently, the DR was treated by means metabolic control of the disease and retinal photocoagulation, destroying by "burning" laser deteriorated retinal areas. This treatment was only partially effective, as it is not a real cure because is to phase retina until destroy it completely.

Figure 1. - Fundus image (A) and diagram of the retina (B), where there are signs of diabetic retinopathy, white exudates (blue arrows) and hemorrhages that appear as red dots (black arrows).

In recent years we know that DR has two basic types of disturbance, reduced somatostatin levels and neurodegenerative changes that speed cell death.
Low levels of somatostatin not control the action of growth hormone, somatotropin, also present in the retina and responsible for the vascular proliferation, the key element to causes disturbances that characterize the DR (Fig. 1), therefore has been proposed the administration of somatostatin analogues to compensate the balance of somatostatin / somatotropin and prevent vascular proliferation and the risk of internal bleeding in the retina.

Neurodegenrative factor is increasingly important in explaining the retinal changes, especially in the early stages of the disease. The DR is a decrease of the factors controlling the mechanism of cell death (apoptosis), retinal cells die and produces irreversible vision loss. To control this problem are given drugs that protect retinal cells, neuroprotective drugs as brimonidine, widely used in other diseases, such as glaucoma.

There are several studies demonstrating the efficacy of these drugs, somatostatin and brimonidine, administrated systemically and what is new, as recently published in the media http://www.europapress.es/salud/noticia-investigadores-espanoles-prueban-colirio-tratar-retinopatia-diabetica-20130205175244.html , Is the fact that it is investigating the possibility of both drugs administered topically in eye drops, which greatly facilitates treatment compliance. In this regard we are pleased that the European study is led by a Spanish group headed by Dr Simó at the Hospital Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona.

In this article we want to raise awareness of all those suffering from diabetes, the risk of eye disorders (diabetic retinopathy), with a high percentage of cases which can lead to blindness and is therefore critical that go to your eye doctor (Ophthalmologist) for early detection of disease and initiation of treatment, the combination of somatostatin analogous and brimonidine, as we are doing in our center, Area Oftalmológica Avanzada.

To learn more about diabetic retinopathy click http://www.eloftalmologobarcelona.com/2012/07/edema-macular-diabetico.html