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Review
, 30 (2), 189-92

Spare the Rods and Spoil the Retina: Revisited

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Review

Spare the Rods and Spoil the Retina: Revisited

S Sivaprasad et al. Eye (Lond).

Abstract

Visual function improves with oxygen inhalation in people with diabetes even in the absence of visible retinopathy. Rods consume the most oxygen in the retina due to the high metabolic activity required to maintain the dark current. Therefore, Arden hypothesized that in diabetes where oxygen supply may also be affected due to the changes in retinal vasculature, prevention of dark adaptation may be a viable option to prevent or decrease the rate of progression of diabetic retinopathy. Animal experiments have proven that the absence of rods decreases the development of retinal neovascularisation. The same principle applies to panretinal photocoagulation, an established treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Recently, a few clinical studies have also shown that preventing dark adaptation by suppressing rods with 500-nm light source at night decreases the rate of progression of early diabetic retinopathy and maculopathy in the short-term. We await the results of a large two-year multi-centre trial (CLEOPATRA trial) to evaluate the long-term effects of decreasing dark adaptation by applying a 500nm light source as a mask over eyes with non-central diabetic macular oedema.

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