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Diabetic Eye Disease (cont.)

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 background diabetic retinopathy, 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.
  • 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.

Do I need to follow-up with my doctor after being diagnosed with diabetic eye disease?

If you or someone you know has diabetes and mild diabetic eye disease, follow-up examinations with an ophthalmologist every year may be all that is necessary.

If the person has more serious disease, more frequent follow-up appointments with an ophthalmologist are required based on the severity of the disease.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

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

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