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Diabetes medication may protect against a common cause of blindness

Colin Kerr

Posted: Saturday, October 27, 2018

Researchers from Taiwan have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who took a common diabetes medication, metformin, had a significantly lower rate of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The study suggests that the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects of metformin can protect against AMD while it controls diabetes. Their research was presented at AAO 2018, the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Using the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, the researchers collected data on all patients recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes from January 2001 to December 2013, dividing them into two groups: Those who took metformin (45,524 patients) and those who did not (22,681 patients). After following both groups for 13 years, the researchers found that patients in the metformin group had a significantly lower risk of developing AMD. Half as many patients in the metformin group had AMD compared to the control group.

“Our study is the first to reveal the protective effect of metformin on the development of AMD,” said lead investigator, Yu-Yen Chen, M.D. “While more study is required to determine just how metformin protects against the development of AMD, this is an exciting development for patients at risk.”