Introduction: Prolonged uncontrolled hyperglycaemia has shown to cause oxidative stress, inflammation, thrombosis and upregulation of angiogenesis in diabetics, which all contributes to diabetic retinopathy development and progression. Vitamin E is found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-thrombogenic and anti-angiogenesis which could play an important role in early treatment of diabetic retinopathy. This study aims to investigate the effect of Tocotrienol-rich vitamin E (Tocovid) on the progression of retinal microhaemorrhages and diabetic macular oedema in patients with diabetic retinopathy.
Method: This is a multi-centred, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial which involved 55 eligible participants. The participants in the treatment group (n = 22) received Tocovid 200 mg twice daily while those in the placebo group (n = 23) would receive placebo twice daily. Both groups will be on the treatment for a total duration of 12 months. Both retinal signs will be assessed at baseline, 2 months, 6 months and 12 months of treatment to determine the progression of diabetic retinopathy. Serum vascular endothelial growth factor which reflects on the angiogenesis process in the eye was analysed as well at similar time points as the retinal findings.
Results: After 12 months of treatment, the placebo group had a significant increase of 23.42% in retinal microhaemorrhages (p < 0.05), but the Tocovid group had no significant changes. Moreover, the Tocovid group showed a significant decrease of 48.38% in area of diabetic macular oedema over the 12 months period (p < 0.05), but the placebo group had no significant changes. Meanwhile, there was no significant difference in serum vascular endothelial growth factor level when comparing between both groups.
Conclusion: These findings could indicate that Tocovid has an important role in preventing early diabetic retinopathy progression.