Effects of normobaric hyperoxia on diabetic macular edema and visual acuity
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PURPOSE: Diabetic macular edema (DME) is the most common cause of vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy. This study aims to approach diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy as ischemic conditions and explores a potential treatment through hyperoxia. The study measured changes in retinal thickness, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity in subjects receiving normobaric oxygen. METHODS: Fifty-one patients with diabetic macular edema at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Eye Clinic (Boston, MA) received oxygen via a face mask at 5 liters per minute for 3 hours. Retinal thickness at the central subfield and maximal retinal thickness were measured using optical coherence tomography. Contrast sensitivity, best corrected visual acuity, and intraocular pressure were measured before and after oxygen as well. RESULTS: Macular thickness from diabetic macular edema decreased by an average of 2.09% (p < .05) at the point of maximal thickness, and by 0.88% (p < .05) at the central subfield. Vision also improved by an average of 0.043 LogMAR units (p < .05). Changes in macular thickness and visual acuity were non-significant in healthy control eyes that received oxygen. The results of hyperoxia on contrast sensitivity were indeterminate. CONCLUSIONS: We found that normobaric hyperoxia for 3 hours reduces macular thickness from diabetic macular edema and improves visual acuity. This study offers additional evidence that diabetic macular edema is an ischemic disorder and suggests that oxygen therapy may serve as an alternate or complimentary treatment of DME.