How Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 11/23/2016

talking-to-eye-doctor.pngDiabetic retinopathy has the potential to deteriorate a diabetic patient's vision to the point of complete blindness. Yet those who proactively follow a course of treatment will reduce the chances of blindness.  

Prevention of Diabetic Retinopathy

Ideally, diabetics will be aware of the potential for diabetic retinopathy and act accordingly. Diabetic retinopathy can be delayed or completely prevented with the strict control of blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar level, exercise, eat a well-balanced diet and you will drastically reduce the chances of vision loss.

Unfortunately, once diabetic retinopathy develops, it is difficult to cure with any form of treatment. This is why prevention is so important for every diabetic. Treatment does have the potential to hinder the progression of vision loss. Those who fail to take advantage of the treatment options described below will allow diabetic retinopathy to advance in a steady fashion toward an extreme stage that might induce total blindness.

Laser Surgery

An extremely bright and narrowly focused laser can be transmitted through the clear cornea, vitreous and lens to treat diabetic retinopathy. This laser will not negatively impact any segment of the eye. The laser serves to decrease macular swelling and shrink new vessels that have the potential to hinder vision.

Medication Injections

In certain instances, medication can be used to treat diabetic retinopathy. A steroid medication or anti-VEGF medication are used to block off the VEGF. This is an acronym that stands for vascular endothelial growth factor. VEGF is partially responsible for the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye that negatively impact vision. The patient's pupil is dilated and an anesthetic is applied to numb the eye. An anti-VEGF drug is then injected into the back portion of the eye known as the vitreous. The medication serves to mitigate leakage, swelling and the expansion of undesired blood vessel growth within the retina.

Vitrectomy Surgery

A vitrectomy is a procedure that removes damaged tissue and blood that is created by abnormal blood vessels in the eye. Vitrectomy surgery is performed with small surgical instruments and a specialized microscope. This surgery eliminates unnecessary vessels that induce bleeding. The vitreous hemorrhage is removed so light can focus on the retina like it used to. If the surgery is a success, the retina returns to its proper location and heal with the assistance of an oil or gas bubble that is surgically implemented in the vitreous space.

If you are concerned about your eye health, you should know that professional assistance is available at Broome Optical. Schedule an appointment and our eye experts will address your concerns, examine your eyes and the best form of treatment for you.

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