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March 5, 2009 at 11:02 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Diabetic Retinopathy: Treatment Options

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Being diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy can be overwhelming. However, you're not dealing with this issue by yourself. Some measure of retinopathy affects almost half of the people who currently have diabetes. Treatments can vary, depending on the level of severity that the retinopathy is affecting your eyes. Outlined below are some commonly used treatments.

Treatment Options

Mild or moderate non-proliferative retinopathy may not cause any symptoms, and usually only require more frequent medical evaluations. These visits will allow the physician to vigilantly watch for any adverse changes and suggest treatments, as needed. During these stages, it's imperative to keep your diabetes under control to prevent retinopathy from progressing. Taking preventive action now, before developing symptoms, is a wise course to take. If your vision has been impaired due to severe non-proliferative and proliferative retinopathy, Photocoagulation is a commonly used procedure. Small leaks, in the area of the retina, are sealed with the use of a laser. These small burns may cause your vision to be blurry for a day or so, and you should avoid driving, during that time. Possible side effects may also include the following:

  • A reduction in night vision might occur.
  • Peripheral vision can be reduced or lost.
  • When going from a lighted area to a dark or dimly lit area, you may experience difficulty focusing.
  • The treatment may not work, or new leaks may develop, necessitating follow up visits and the possibility of repeating the procedure.

Panretinal photocoagulation is sometimes used if the abnormal blood vessels are scattered across the retina. During this procedure, an ophthalmologist uses a laser over the entire retina, except for the macula. This is sometimes referred to as scattered photocoagulation and it's beneficial in reducing the risks of traction retinal detachment or vitreous hemorrhage. This technique may also cause some loss of peripheral and night vision. Vitrectomy is an operation that's performed to remove vitreous from the eye that's been filled with blood. Once the tissue is removed, the surgeon replaces the tissue with a solution that helps the eye retain its shape and pressure. If scar tissue is pulling the retina out of place, Vitrectomy may also be used to remove the scar tissue, thereby preserving the retina. This surgery may require weeks to recover from. During that time an eye patch and medicinal eye drops should be used. Cryopexy is used to seal areas around the retina where a hole or tear has developed. The freezing results in a scar that will prevent additional fluid from leaking into the retina, possibly causing it to detach. Pneumatic Retinopexy and Scleral buckling are both procedures to repair detached retinas. The above procedures are used to prevent the retinopathy from progressing further. They are not a cure and they usually cannot reverse the vision losses that you may have already suffered. Every 22 minutes an American diabetic loses his or her vision. You don't have to become one of those statistics. You can reduce the risk of blindness is possible by controlling the blood glucose levels and blood pressure.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/retinal-diseases/diabetic-retinopathy.html

http://nfb.org/Images/nfb/Publications/vod/vod214/vodfall0604.htm

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