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Diabetic Eye Disease (cont.)

Diabetic Eye Disease Surgery

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.

Diabetic Eye Disease Follow-up

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

Diabetic Eye Disease Prevention

If you or someone you know has diabetes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

The chances of developing serious complications from diabetes decrease dramatically by adhering to the following:

  • eat a healthy diabetic diet,
  • exercise regularly,
  • monitor blood sugars, and
  • take diabetic medications as prescribed.

Even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and not smoking are advisable.

This is especially important in light of the new, more accurate definition of diabetes that estimates 41 million people in the United States have "pre-diabetes," a condition that significantly increases the risk for developing this disease.

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Diabetic Eye Disease - Symptoms

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Diabetic Eye Disease - Causes and Types

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