Purpose: To determine the efficacy of the lipid-lowering drug atorvastatin in reducing retinal hard exudates and subfoveal lipid migration after focal/grid laser photocoagulation in clinically significant macular edema in patients with diabetes with elevated serum lipids.
Design: Randomized case trial.
Methods: Thirty patients with type 2 diabetes with clinically significant macular edema, dyslipidemia, and hard exudates of grade 4 and above were assessed in an institutional setting. All patients were subjected to strict metabolic control within 4 to 6 weeks of enrollment. In addition, 15 patients in group A received atorvastatin, a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A inhibitor; 15 members of group B did not receive any lipid-lowering therapy. All received laser photocoagulation after a metabolic control period and were followed up for a minimum of 18 weeks. The outcome measures were reduction in hard exudates, subfoveal lipid migration, status of macular edema, and visual acuity.
Results: The study included 21 men and nine women with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus who could achieve good metabolic control within 4 to 6 weeks of inclusion in the study. All patients had elevated serum lipids at baseline. Ten (66.6%) of 15 patients in treatment group A and two (13.3%) of 15 patients in control group B showed reduction in hard exudates (P =.007). None of the patients in group A and five (33.3%) of 15 in group B showed subfoveal lipid migration after laser photocoagulation (P =.04). Regression of macular edema was seen in nine eyes in group A and five in group B (P =.27). None of the eyes in group A and three eyes in group B showed worsening of visual acuity (P =.22).
Conclusion: Oral atorvastatin therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes with dyslipidemia reduces the severity of hard exudates and subfoveal lipid migration in clinically significant macular edema and could be an important adjunct in the management of clinically significant macular edema.