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Clinical Alert

October 30, 1989

Clinical Alert to Ophthalmologists—Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS)

Dear Colleague:

The purpose of this clinical alert is to inform ophthalmologists of significant new findings from the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS), a randomized, controlled, multicenter clinical trial supported by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. Three questions concerning diabetic retinopathy were posed by the study: (1) Is photocoagulation effective for diabetic macular edema? (2) When in the course of the disease is the best time to begin photocoagulation for diabetic retinopathy? (3) Does aspirin treatment alter the progression of diabetic retinopathy?

Analysis of data collected by the ETDRS since patient recruitment began in December 1979 has led to the following study conclusions:

The ETDRS findings will be announced on October 30th during a symposium at the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The results will later be published in the scientific literature.


Carl Kupfer, M.D.
National Eye Institute

Lloyd Aiello, M.D.
ETDRS Co-Chairman
Beetham Eye Institute
Joslin Diabetes Center

Federick L. Ferris III, M.D.
ETDRS Co-Chairman
National Eye Institute

Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health