How We Can Help
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Information
We use a variety of treatment approaches for diabetic retinopathy. The right plan for you depends on your specific symptoms, concerns and preferences. Options include:
- Laser surgery. We use a laser to treat proliferative diabetic retinopathy by shrinking abnormal blood vessels in the eye. Laser surgery and appropriate follow-up care can reduce your risk of blindness by approximately 90 percent. We typically perform this procedure in an office setting, where you will sit in front of an instrument known as a slit-lamp microscope. An anesthetic eye drop or an anesthetic injection near the eye ensures that the procedure does not hurt. You may need two or more sessions of laser surgery for effective treatment. We also use laser surgery to treat macular edema (swelling due to fluid) with the goal of reducing fluid leakage. This procedure can be completed in one session and cuts your risk of vision loss by half. In a few cases, it can even help to improve your sight after vision has been lost.
- Vitrectomy. In this procedure, we surgically remove blood and scar tissue from the eye so that light can pass through properly. You undergo this procedure in a hospital operating room or outpatient surgery center and are given local or general anesthesia. If you need vitrectomy in both eyes, we perform the operations a few weeks apart. You may be able to go home right away, or you might need to stay in the hospital overnight. Follow-up care will include an eye patch for several days and medicated eye drops to prevent infection. It is possible to develop bleeding in the eye again, so you may need further treatment in the future.
- Medicine. Certain medicines can limit the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels on the retina. These therapies block the action of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a substance that helps the vessels form. They may also reduce swelling and fluid leakage. We inject the anti-VEGF medication after numbing your eye with an anesthetic. You may need injections periodically, such as every four to six weeks. You can receive these injections either alone or in addition to laser surgery.
Diabetic Retinopathy Locations & Physicians
Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.
Find a Specialist
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Diabetic Retinopathy Support Services
The more you know about diabetic retinopathy, the more effectively you can manage it with your ophthalmologist. These sites include information and resources:
A Sampling of Diabetic Retinopathy Support Services
The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers patient-friendly explanations, photos and videos to help you understand diabetic retinopathy.
Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
Find Indiana clinical research trials for which you might qualify at this site.
National Eye Institute
This federal agency provides an overview of diabetic retinopathy diagnosis and treatment.