Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

  • Treatment

    Strict control of your diabetes is essential. Maintaining control of blood sugar levels throughout your lifetime can help prevent diabetic retinopathy. If you do develop diabetic retinopathy, controlling your blood sugar can help control the degree of eye damage you develop and may help preserve your vision. Regular eye doctor appointments are extremely important. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you should schedule yearly visits with your eye doctor. If you have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you should start seeing an eye doctor every year within 3 to 5 years of your diagnosis. If you start to have vision problems while being treated for diabetes, you should notify your regular doctor. You could be developing retinal disease, and you should be referred to an eye doctor quickly.

    If you have high blood pressure, it's essential to keep it under control. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure will also help preserve your vision.

    Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.

    Your eye doctor or a retina specialist can do several procedures that can help improve your vision. One type is laser photocoagulation surgery, which involves the use of a special high-energy laser beam to create small burns that seal off leaky vessels. A specialist does this procedure. You will be given anesthetic eye drops to numb your eye, and sometimes anesthetic shots around your eyes. You can usually return home right after surgery, but you should not drive for 1 day due to blurred vision.

    Panretinal photocoagulation is a more extensive type of laser treatment. For this procedure, the doctor uses laser therapy over most of your eye, only sparing your macula. This usually involves two or more laser treatments. Panretinal photocoagulation can cause side effects, including blurred peripheral vision and trouble with night vision.

    If laser treatment is not effective, your eye doctor may try vitrectomy. This procedure involves removal of the vitreous, the clear gel between your retina and your eye's lens. Once the vitreous is removed, your eye doctor will perform laser photocoagulation.

    There are no effective alternative medicine treatments for diabetic retinopathy.

    Steroid injections into your eye, known as intravitreal steroids, may be effective. This treatment may be useful if you have macular edema, or swelling, leading to retinopathy. You may need to receive multiple injections to notice any improvement.

    Strict control of diabetes is the key to preventing diabetic retinopathy. Following your doctor's advice, taking your medicine, and keeping your weight down are essential for controlling high blood sugar. If you have high blood pressure in addition to diabetes, maintaining a healthy blood pressure is also essential for preventing retinopathy.

    Pregnant women who have diabetes sometimes experience a worsening of eye problems. If you are pregnant, you should have more frequent eye exams. Studies show that even though retinopathy may become worse during pregnancy, getting pregnant does not make you more likely to have worsening retinopathy in the long-term.

    If you develop retinopathy, frequent eye exams, strict diabetes control, and medical treatment can all help preserve your vision.

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