Diabetic retinopathy treatment can involve laser, eye injections, or vitrectomy surgery.

Laser Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

There are 2 types of retinal lasers for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Focal laser: the surgeon will target the leaking small retinal blood vessels in the back of your eye to stop leakage. Leakage (diabetic macular edema) is the most common complication in diabetic retinopathy.
  • Panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) laser: this is done for the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy (proliferative diabetic retinopathy). The laser is applied to the peripheral parts of the retina in order to preserve the center of your vision. The goal of this laser is to make the abnormal blood vessels shrink and go away, hence saving vision. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the stage of diabetic retinopathy which can lead to blindness if not treated. Many patients lose vision despite multiple surgeries.

Intravitreal Injections

Over the past 10 years, there have been tremendous advancements in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. In addition to focal laser (described above), intravitreal injections are now the standard treatment of diabetic macular edema. The retina specialist will decide which medication may help you the most. The following options are available:

Anti-VEGF Eye Injections:
  • Avastin (Bevacizumab)
  • Eylea (Aflibercept)
  • Lucentis (Ranibizumab)
Steroid Eye Injections:
  • Kenalog (Triamcinolone)
  • Triesence (preservative-free Kenalog)
Sustained-Release Agents:
  • Fluocinolone Acetonide (Iluvien): an injectable steroid implant that lasts up to 3 years
  • Ozurdex: an injectable steroid implant that lasts up to 4-6 months

Surgery for Diabetic Retinopathy

Vitrectomy surgery is sometimes required for advanced stages of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. In general, surgery is reserved for the following diabetic eye conditions:

  • Diabetic retinal detachment
  • Diabetic vitreous hemorrhage

There are a variety of treatments to treat the various stages of diabetic retinopathy. There is no one single treatment which is best for everyone. A complete dilated eye examination and testing is necessary to customize a treatment for you.

Call 949-427-2020 if you have a history of diabetes and need an examination.