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Diabetic Retinopathy (cont.)

Surgery

Surgical treatment for diabetic retinopathy is removal of the vitreous gel (vitrectomy). Vitrectomy does not cure the disease, but it may improve vision in people who have developed bleeding into the vitreous gel (vitreous hemorrhage), retinal detachment, or severe scar tissue formation.

Unfortunately, by the time some people are diagnosed with retinopathy (especially late-stage retinopathy), it is often too late for vitrectomy to provide much benefit. Even with treatment, vision may continue to decline.

Early detection of retinopathy through dilated eye exams can help you decide to have surgery when it is most effective.

Surgery Choices

Vitrectomy is the surgical removal of the vitreous gel.

What To Think About

Vitreous surgery (vitrectomy) for diabetic retinopathy is effective in preventing vision loss when a person has bleeding into the vitreous gel (vitreous hemorrhage) or retinal detachment. But it is not a cure. This surgery is not usually done unless these complications or severe scar tissue has already developed.

After a person has had most of the vitreous gel removed by vitrectomy, surgery to remove scar tissue or to repair a new retinal detachment may be needed.

Vitrectomy may require an overnight hospital stay, but it is sometimes done as outpatient surgery. Your eye doctor will determine if the surgery can be done with local or general anesthesia.

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