Diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy) is caused by persistently high levels of blood sugar. Over time, this can cause significant issues with the blood vessels within the eyes. The biggest risk is leakage—something that, if left unchecked—can eventually lead to total vision loss.
However, there’s plenty that can be done to monitor, maintain, and treat the condition. Partnering with a diabetic ophthalmologist specialist is key, as is ensuring regular checkups.
The following looks at the cutting-edge treatment available for those who live with diabetic retinopathy.
All About Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
- A quick overview of diabetic retinopathy
A quick overview of diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy causes the weakening of the eye’s blood vessels. Over time, these become damaged and can leak tiny quantities of blood. This can cause a variety of issues including:
- Blurred vision
Should you experience any sudden increase in symptoms, eye redness, worsening vision, or loss of vision, this would signify a medical emergency and you should seek immediate help.
Regular eye checks and good diabetes maintenance are key to keeping the disease under control. As the disease progresses, three significant treatment options are available to ensure you benefit from your best possible vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Options
- Diabetic retinopathy treatment: laser
- Diabetic retinopathy treatment: injections
- Diabetic retinopathy treatment: surgery
Diabetic retinopathy treatment: laser
Laser treatment works by sealing leaking blood vessels. There are two types:
- Photocoagulation: This applies a minute laser burn to the leaking vessels to seal them
- Panretinal photocoagulation: Also known as “scatter laser”, this shrinks the leaking blood vessels
Both types are performed under local anesthetic. The latter takes place over multiple treatment sessions.
Diabetic retinopathy treatment: injections
Injections are used to help slow the progression of the disease, stopping new, abnormal vessels from forming. They are known as vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors (anti-VEGF) and are generally performed once a month.
Steroid injections are also used if anti-VEGF doesn’t work or reduces its effectiveness.
Diabetic retinopathy treatment: surgery
This more radical approach is used if there’s extensive scar tissue within the eye or if a larger amount of blood is leaking. When either of these happens, it increases the risk of retinal detachment. Surgery is the best way to approach this. The procedure involves the removal of some of the vitreous within the eye (the gel-like substance), a process known as vitreoretinal surgery.
Don’t worry, it’s pain-free. Although it’s carried out under local anesthetic, you’ll also be given light sedation to ensure that you’re unaware of what’s going on.
All three treatment options are only carried out as the disease evolves. During the early stages of diabetic eye disease—known as nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy—monitoring and management are key.
Intervention is only usually carried out when the condition progresses to what’s known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or PDR. Lifestyle management will help slow the onset of this more advanced level. The best way to approach this is to:
- Manage your blood sugar to keep it within the normal range
- Take your medication as prescribed
- Keep blood pressure under control
- Don’t smoke or give up if you do
- Keep your cholesterol within healthy levels
- Exercise and eat a healthy diet
Contact the West Boca Eye Center for the Ultimate Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
The key to your best possible vision is a combination of great maintenance and the skill of your ophthalmologist. At the WBEC, you can rest assured that you’ll benefit from the highest level of diabetic expertise.
The team of talented clinicians is led by world-renowned consultant ophthalmologist—Brent Bellotte MD. Offering the very latest care options for diabetic eye disease, this academic-grade clinic is your one-stop-shop for all things eye-related.
Visit https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/diabetic-retinopathy/ for more details.