Treating Diabetic Retinopathy

Side view of eye showing lens on front of eye. Laser light is focusing on inside back wall of eye.Treatment may help slow the progress of diabetic retinopathy. Your treatment plan depends on your condition. It may include frequent exams to monitor your condition, laser treatment, and other procedures.

Monitoring your vision

At first, your healthcare provider may simply want to monitor your vision. In some cases, you may also have an angiogram. This test uses a special dye to create detailed images of the retina. These images help your healthcare provider decide whether special treatments are needed. You may also have ocular coherence tomography (OCT) testing. This uses light waves to see if there is fluid leaking into certain parts of the eye. It can also measure the thickness of the retina.

Types of treatment

Special treatments can help stop bleeding, slow or stop new vessel growth, and preserve and even improve vision. The type of treatment you get depends on your condition:

  • Laser treatment can help stop leaks and limit abnormal vessel growth.

  • Surgery can remove the vitreous or repair a retina that is damaged by scar tissue formation. This may help if the vitreous becomes filled with blood and obscures your vision.

  • Cryotherapy shrinks blood vessels and repairs the retina.

  • Medicines injected in the eye can help decrease swelling of the retina or slow the abnormal growth of blood vessels.