Diabetic Retinopathy Treatments

Specific treatment will be determined by your physician(s) based on:

  • Your age, overall health and medical history
  • Extent of the disease
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinion or preference

According to the National Eye Institute (part of the National Institutes of Health), even people with advanced retinopathy have a good chance of keeping their vision if they seek treatment before the retina becomes severely damaged. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy may include:

  • Injections: Medications injected into the eye can minimize swelling and the growth of blood vessels that can impair vision.
  • Cryotherapy: Freezing temperatures can shrink blood vessels that are growing abnormally on the retina or in the vitreous.
  • Laser surgery: Often used to treat macular edema and proliferative retinopathy, laser surgery involves shrinking the abnormal blood vessels or sealing the leaking ones.
  • Vitrectomy: This procedure involves removing the cloudy vitreous (the clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye) and replacing it with a salt solution.
  • Low-vision treatments: Certain adaptive devices can help you regain the ability to enjoy daily activities.