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When an individual has been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, treatment can be carried out on the eyes. However, the treatment largely depends on the type of disease and how severe it is. Individuals with moderate level diabetic retinopathy may not require immediate treatment. But the eye doctors will have to monitor the patient’s eyes closely to know when treatment might be needed. However, individuals with severe and advanced cases of diabetic retinopathy will need immediate surgical treatment. There are different treatment options which include:

Photocoagulation

This procedure is also known as focal treatment. It can stop or slow down the leakage of blood and fluid in the eye. When this procedure is carried out, it treats the blood which leaks out from abnormal vessels using laser burns. This treatment is usually done within the doctor’s office.

Vitrectomy

A procedure that involves creating a tiny incision in the eye to extract blood from the middle of the eye and also scar tissue that is pulling on the retina. It is done in the theatre within a hospital centre with the use of local/ general anaesthesia.

Injecting medicine into the eye

Eye doctors might recommend injecting medication into the middle of the eye as a treatment for diabetic retinopathy. These medications, which are also called “vascular endothelial growth factor” (VEGF) inhibitors, can help to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels by blocking off growth signals which the body transmits to the eyes to create new blood vessels. Doctors might recommend the use of these anti-VEGF medications as a stand-alone treatment or alongside the photocoagulation procedure.

The eye doctor is in a better position to know which of these treatment options will be best for their patients depending on the stage of the disease. So, discussing with him/her is very necessary. However, it is also important to know that the use of the above-listed procedures to treat diabetic retinopathy only slows down or stops the progression of the disease, thereby delaying the permanent damage to the retina from happening too soon.

The procedures do not cure the disease. This is because diabetes is a lifetime health condition, so future damage to the retina and complete vision loss can still occur if not professionally managed. With proper care, patients can still enjoy the use of their eyes. Contact us for more information on how to care for your eyes.