Dissertation: Patient-reported and medical outcomes in patients with diabetic macular edema

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Zoom Aula Gunnesalen, Entrance 10, Psykiatrins hus
  • Doctoral student: Opponent: professor Anna Forsberg, Lund University
  • Contact person: Janeth Leksell
  • Disputation

Therese Granström defends her thesis "Patient-reported and medical outcomes in patients with diabetic macular edema - A real-world longitudinal study".

It is possible to view the dissertation through Zoom: https://du-se.zoom.us/j/927400941.

Background Diabetes mellitus can lead to complications, when the complication affects the eyes it is called retinopathy. This can affect the macula and lead to severe loss of vision, diabetic macular edema (DME). This condition has traditionally been treated with laser. However, in 2011, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) injections in the eye were approved as a treatment for diabetic macular edema, and started to be used in eye clinics.

Aim The overall aim of this thesis was to describe patient-reported outcomes and medical outcomes (PRO) in people treated for diabetic macular edema in a real-world setting in a longtime follow-up study in Sweden.

Methods Participants were enrolled at two eye clinics at two county hospitals in Sweden between 2012 and 2014. Patient-reported outcomes were measured using a vision-specific questionnaire, the 25-question National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEIVFQ-25) and a generic questionnaire, the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36). Completed questionnaires, medical data such as visual acuity (EDRS), macula swelling (OCT) and social background characteristics were collected before treatment start, at one-year and four-year follow up points. The data was analyzed, descriptive statistics developed and comparative analyses were performed. Interviews were performed before treatment start and were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results A total of 59 participants were included at baseline. The mean age was 69 years, with an equal gender distribution. At baseline, the participants scored a low general health with the vision-specific questionnaire. In total, 21 participants were interviewed, and a theme emerged of ‘being at a crossroads and a crucial phase in life with an uncertain outcome’. The participants expressed thoughts and concerns at different levels, including practical concerns about the treatment procedure and more existential thoughts about hope for improved visual acuity or fear of deterioration. The results at the one-year follow up showed that 30 patients had improved visual acuity and reported an improvement in several subscales in the NEI VFQ-25. The remaining 27 participants had no improvement in visual acuity or in the vision specific questionnaire. The four-year follow-up involved 37 people, and the result showed significant improvement in subjective near-vision activities and improved distance visual acuity.

Conclusion: Before treatment, the participants reported low general health and expressed concerns about the injection treatment and their vision. One year after treatment started, the results showed significant improvement in several NEI VFQ-25 subscales, decreased macula swelling and improved visual acuity. These positive results remained at the four-year follow-up point.