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Exploring Advanced Diabetic Retinopathy TreatmentsBrowse Eyewear

Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that affects people with diabetes. It is a complication of the condition that occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the retina at the back of the eye. If untreated, the disease can lead to blindness. It usually takes several years for diabetic retinopathy to develop to the sight-threatening stage.

Early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of vision loss. Explore advanced diabetic retinopathy treatments and learn about the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.

Laser Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

When diabetic retinopathy threatens an individual's sight, eye doctors may recommend laser treatment. Laser therapy targets the new blood vessels that grow on the retina when a patient has proliferative diabetic retinopathy. These new blood vessels are weak and often bleed into the eye, causing vision complications.

Laser therapy can help halt eye changes, preventing the worsening of vision. Eye specialists numb and dilate the patient’s eyes, directing a laser onto the retina. The outpatient procedure lasts 20 to 40 minutes.

Eye Injections for Diabetic Retinopathy

To prevent worsening diabetic retinopathy, eye doctors may recommend eye injections. Injecting anti-VEGF medication directly into the eye can prevent the growth of new blood vessels. The medications can prevent the worsening of the vision and, in some cases, help improve it.

Doctors use a fine needle to inject the medication into the eye socket after numbing the eye. Doctors administer the injections monthly until the vision begins to stabilize. If the anti-VEGF injections fail to work, doctors may use steroid drug injections.

Steroid Implants for Diabetic Retinopathy

When other treatment options fail to work, eye specialists may recommend steroid implants. These treat advanced diabetic retinopathy. An eye implant, known as an intravitreal implant, is injected into the eye. It contains a steroid drug known as dexamethasone.

The tiny implant releases the medication slowly over several months, helping to reduce swelling in the eye. The treatment can improve the patient's eyesight. The implant dissolves over time and does not require removal.

Eye Surgery for Diabetic Retinopathy

Eye specialists can use surgery to remove vitreous humor from the eye. The gel-like, transparent fluid (humor) fills the space between the lens and the retina. Doctors recommend surgery when large amounts of blood have collected in the eye or when there is extensive scarring.

Large scar tissue can cause retinal detachment. During surgery, doctors use a laser to make an incision in the eye, removing some of the humor or scar tissue. Specialists perform the procedure under sedation and local anesthesia. It can help prevent further vision deterioration.

Reducing the Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy

Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic retinopathy. However, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing a sight-threatening disease. They include:

  • Managing your blood sugar levels
  • Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Consuming a balanced diet
  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Keeping all your diabetes screening appointments
  • Scheduling regular diabetic eye exams

If you have had diabetes for a long time, you are at greater risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. The disease does not usually show symptoms in the early stages, which makes getting regular eye exams vital. Contact your eye doctor immediately if you notice changes in your vision.

Is it time for your annual dilated diabetic eye examination? Our office is in West Boylston, Massachusetts. Call (508) 500-1562 to book an appointment today.

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