Treating Diabetic Retinopathy

Treatment may help slow the progress of diabetic retinopathy. Your treatment plan depends on your condition. You may need frequent exams to watch for changes. You may also need laser treatment and other procedures.

Watching your vision

At first, your healthcare provider may simply want to watch your vision. In some cases, you may also have:

  • An angiogram. This test uses a special dye to make detailed images of the retina. These images help your provider decide if you need special treatments.

  • 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 look at the thickness of the retina.

  • Photos of your retina. These can show any changes in your retina since your last checkup.


Types of treatment

Special treatments can help stop bleeding. They can also slow or stop new vessel growth. And they can save vision and even make it better. The type of treatment you get depends on your condition:

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

  • Surgery can remove the vitreous or fix a retina damaged by scar tissue. This may help if the vitreous becomes filled with blood and makes it hard to see.

  • Cryotherapy shrinks blood vessels and fixes the retina.

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