Progression & Treatment
A comprehensive eye examination and appropriate treatment by an ophthalmologist is the best protection against eye damage due to diabetes. This includes a dilated eye exam to examine the retina, iris, optic nerve, and eye pressures. Additional testing may be done to evaluate retinal thickness (ocular computed tomography) and evaluate the status of the retinal blood vessels (fluorescein angiography). When diabetic retinopathy is discovered, your doctor will consider several factors before deciding if observation or treatment is most appropriate. Treatment for early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually focuses on maintaining blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels under good control. When ocular treatment is needed, a laser alone, or in combination with a series of intra-ocular injections, is usually used to seal or shrink the abnormal and leaking blood vessels. In very severe cases, an intra-ocular surgery can be done to clean out and remove any bleeding inside the eye (vitrectomy).