There is no cure for
diabetic retinopathy. But
laser treatment (photocoagulation) is usually very
effective at preventing vision loss if it is done before the
retina has been severely damaged. Surgical removal of
vitreous gel (vitrectomy) may also help improve vision
if the retina has not been severely damaged. Sometimes injections of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) medicine help to shrink new blood vessels in proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Because symptoms may not develop
until the disease becomes severe, early detection through regular screening is
important. The earlier retinopathy is detected, the easier it is to treat and
the more likely vision will be preserved.
You may not need
treatment for diabetic retinopathy unless it has affected the center (macula) of the retina or, in rare cases, if your side
(peripheral) vision has been severely damaged. But you do need to have your
vision checked regularly.
with diabetes can seem like a full-time job -- trying to keep up with
everything you need to do for proper diabetes care.
"Diabetes is a very time-consuming disease to manage well," says
Karmeen Kulkarni, MS, RD, CDE, and former president of health care and
education for the American Diabetes Association. "The medication, the food, the physical activity -- you add life
in general to that whole picture and it ends up being quite
If the macula has been damaged by
macular edema, you may need laser treatment. For more
severe retinopathy, you may need either laser treatment or vitrectomy. These
procedures can help prevent, stabilize, or slow vision loss when they are done
before the retina has been severely damaged. Newer treatment includes medicines like anti-VEGF medicine or steroids that are injected into the eye.
Surgical removal of
the vitreous gel (vitrectomy) is done when there is bleeding (vitreous
retinal detachment, which are rare in people with
early-stage retinopathy. Vitrectomy is also done when severe scar tissue has
Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is often very effective
in preventing, delaying, or reducing vision loss. But it is not a cure for the
disease. People who have been treated for diabetic retinopathy need to be
monitored frequently by an eye doctor to check for new changes in their eyes.
Many people with diabetic retinopathy need to be treated more than once as the
condition gets worse.
Also, controlling your blood sugar levels is
always important. This is true even if you have been treated for diabetic
retinopathy and your eyes are better. In fact, good blood sugar control is
especially important in this case so that you can help keep your retinopathy
from getting worse.
Ideally, laser treatment should be done early
in the course of the disease to prevent serious vision loss rather than to try
to treat serious vision loss after it has already developed.
People with diabetes who have any signs of retinopathy need to be
examined as soon as possible by an
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Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
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Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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