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Diabetic Eye Disease (cont.)

What is the treatment for diabetic eye disease?

Treatment of diabetic eye disease can be prevented or controlled with lifestyle changes like a healthy diabetic diet, exercise, close monitor of blood sugars, taking medications as prescribed by the doctor, and quitting smoking.

Medical treatment for diabetes includes medication or lifestyle changes.

What is the medical treatment of diabetic eye disease?

Patient Comments

Medical treatment of diabetic eye disease is generally directed at the underlying problem - the diabetes itself. The better control a patient has of the disease, the fewer problems they will have in the long run.

Monitoring the patient's glycosylated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1C, Hb1AC) is the best assessment of the overall level of blood sugar control. A medical doctor will order this blood test at least once a year. If the patient's results are initially found to be abnormal or if the patient's self-test blood sugar results become more variable, then this blood test may be ordered more frequently.

  • For diabetic retinopathy, available medical treatment includes injections of corticosteroids or anti-vascular-proliferative medications in the area around the eye may be used.
  • The presence of glaucoma requires the use of antiglaucoma medications in the form of eye drops.

What about surgery for diabetic eye disease?

Surgical treatment of diabetic eye disease most commonly involves treatment of the retina with an argon laser.

  • For focal/macular photocoagulation or grid macular photocoagulation is performed. During this laser treatment, performed in an ophthalmologist's office, a highly focused beam of laser light is used to treat the leaking blood vessels or to treat the area of retinal swelling.
  • In the absence of macular edema, non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy requires no laser treatment.
  • For proliferative diabetic retinopathy, panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) is performed. During this treatment, the entire retina, except for the macula (the center of the retina), is treated with laser spots to decrease the oxygen demand of the retina and remove the need for these new blood vessels to grow.
  • If extensive growth of new blood vessels, extensive scar tissue formation, tractional retinal detachment, or severe bleeding inside the eye has occurred, a vitrectomy is performed. During a vitrectomy, usually performed in an operating room at a hospital or an out-patient surgical center, the vitreous (a gel-like fluid) and the blood inside the eye are removed and replaced with a clear fluid. In some of these cases, a vitrectomy combined with laser treatment and/or retinal detachment surgery is required.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/13/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Diabetic Eye Disease:

Diabetic Eye Disease - Symptoms

What symptoms have you experienced due to diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic Eye Disease - Experience

Please share your experience with diabetes and eye disease.

Diabetic Eye Disease - Medical Treatment

What medical treatments have been effective in managing your diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic Eye Disease - Causes and Types

If known, what was the cause of your case of eye disease associated with diabetes, and what problems have you experienced?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Macular Edema, Diabetic »

Over the last several decades, there have been a few large-scale trials that have influenced the management of diabetic complications in the eye.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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