AIMS/INTRODUCTION: In older patients, the management of diabetic macular edema (DME) would be complicated by comorbidities, geriatric syndrome, and socioeconomic status. This study aims to evaluate the effects of aging on the management of DME.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a real-world clinical study including 1552 patients with treatment-naïve center-involved DME. Patients were categorized by age at baseline (C1, <55; C2, 55-64; C3, 65-74; and C4, ≥75 years). The outcomes were change in logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution best-corrected visual acuity (logMAR BCVA) and central retinal thickness (CRT) and number of treatments from baseline to 2 years.
RESULTS: From baseline to 2 years, the mean changes in logMAR BCVA from baseline to 2 years were -0.01 in C1, -0.06 in C2, -0.07 in C3, and 0.01 in C4 (P = 0.016), and the mean changes in CRT were -136.2 μm in C1, -108.8 μm in C2, -100.6 μm in C3, and -89.5 μm in C4 (P = 0.008). Treatments applied in the 2-year period exhibited decreasing trends with increasing age category on the number of intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF agents (P = 0.06), selecting local corticosteroid injection (P = 0.031), vitrectomy (P < 0.001), and laser photocoagulation outside the great vascular arcade (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Compared with younger patients with DME, patients with DME aged ≥75 years showed less frequent treatment, lower BCVA gain, and smaller CRT decrease. The management and visual outcome in older patients with DME would be unsatisfactory in real-world clinical practice.