Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is dependent on what stage of disease you have, your level of vision and the doctor’s clinical decision.

For mild nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, the treatment is good control of your blood sugar and blood pressure. Control your blood sugar by watching your diet and taking the medication prescribed by your doctor. Controlling you blood pressure helps keep the eye’s blood vessels healthy.

If diabetic macular edema, is noted there are several different treatments that may be used alone or in combination.

Anti-VEGF Injection Therapy: These medications are injected into the vitreous gel that fills the back 2/3 of the eye. They help to reverse the growth and development of abnormal blood vessels and decrease the fluid in the retina. Most people require monthly injections for the first 6 months of treatment. The frequency of injections after that depends on how the eye is responding to the treatment.
Focal/Grid Macular Laser Surgery: With this treatment, a few to hundreds of small laser burns are made to leaking blood vessels in areas of swelling near the center of the retina. The laser burns slow the leakage of fluid, reducing the swelling.
Corticosteroids: Steroids can either be injected or implanted into the eye. There use increases the risk of cataract and glaucoma. Thus, these patients need to be monitored for increased intraocular pressure that can cause glaucoma.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy also has different treatment options depending on the situation.

Anti-VEGF Injection Therapy: These medications are injected into the vitreous gel that fills the back 2/3 of the eye. They help to reverse the growth and development of abnormal blood vessels that lead to proliferative changes. They also help to decrease the fluid in the retina. Most people require monthly injections for the first 6 months of treatment. The frequency of injections after that depends on how the eye is responding to the treatment.
Panretinal Laser Surgery: This involves making 1,000 – 2,000 tiny laser burns in the peripheral retina, away from the macula. The goal of these laser burns is to cause the new blood vessels to shrink. This treatment does preserve central vision, but it may cause the loss of some peripheral, color and night vision.
Vitrectomy: This is the surgical removal of the vitreous gel that fills the back 2/3 of the eye. This is used to treat severe bleeding into the vitreous. It performed under local or general anesthesia.

If you need a dilated eye exam due to diabetes, call Summit Eye Center at (816) 246-2111 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule an appointment.

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