Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment


Diabetic retinopathy is the diabetes-related damage occurs to the light-sensitive retina in the back of the eye. As diabetes advances, chronic high blood sugar levels will cause the changes that will damage the small blood vessels in the retina, which makes them to leak the fluid or hemorrhage (bleed). Ultimately, this will leads to some kind of vision problems that cannot be rectified or corrected with help of the eyeglasses or even with the contact lenses.

Diabetic retinopathy generally requires only specific treatment when it reaches to an advanced stage & there's a risk to the vision.
The most important part of the treatment is to keep the diabetes under control.
In the initial stages of the diabetic retinopathy, controlling diabetes can help to preserve vision.In the more complex stages, when the vision is affected or at risk, keeping the diabetes under the control will help to stop the condition getting more worse.

Treatments for advanced diabetic retinopathy

For diabetic retinopathy that is threatening or affecting your sight, the main treatments are:

Laser treatment

Laser treatment is used to treat the new blood vessels at the back of eyes in the complex stages of diabetic retinopathy.
Treatment may help to stabilize the changes in the eyes which caused by the diabetes and prevent  vision from getting worse even though it won't generally improve the sight.

  • It involves shining a laser into the eyes – patient will be given local anaesthetic drops to numb the eyes; eye drops were also used to widen the pupils & special contact lenses are been used to hold eyelids open & to focus the laser onto the retina
  • It usually  takes around 20-40 minutes
  • It is generally carried out on an outpatient basis, that means patient won't need to stay in the hospital overnight
  • May requires more than one visit to the laser treatment clinic
  • Isn't generally painful, even though patient may feel like pricking sensation when certain areas of the eye are being treated

Eye injections

  • In some of the cases in diabetic maculopathy, injections of a medicine known as anti-VEGF can be given directly into the eyes to prevent a new blood vessels forming at back of the eyes.
  • The main medicines which are used are ranibizumab (Lucentis/Accentrix) & aflibercept (Eylea). These will help prevent  the problems from getting worse, and can also  improve vision to some extent.

Eye surgery

Surgery will be performed to remove some of the vitreous humour from the eye. This was the transparent, jelly-like substance which fills the space behind the lens of eye.
This surgery, called  vitreoretinal surgery, may be needed if:

  • a large amount of the blood has  collected in the eye
  • If there's a extensive scar tissue which likely to cause, or has already  caused retinal detachment

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