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Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

Vitrectomy as a Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

If you have a lot of blood in the center of the eye (the vitreous gel), you may need a vitrectomy to restore your sight. If you need vitrectomies in both eyes, they are usually done several weeks apart.
 
A vitrectomy is performed under either local or general anesthesia. Your doctor makes a tiny incision in your eye. Next, a small instrument is used to remove the vitreous gel that is clouded with blood. The vitreous gel is replaced with a salt solution. Because the vitreous gel is mostly water, you will notice no change between the salt solution and the original vitreous gel.
 
You will probably be able to return home after the vitrectomy, although some people stay in the hospital overnight. Your eye will be red and sensitive. You will need to wear an eye patch for a few days or weeks to protect your eye. You also will need to use medicated eye drops to protect against infection.
 

How Effective Is Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment?

Both laser treatment and vitrectomy are effective in reducing vision loss. People with proliferative retinopathy have less than a 5 percent chance of becoming blind within five years when they get timely and appropriate diabetic retinopathy treatment. Although both treatments have high success rates, they do not cure diabetic retinopathy.
 
Once you have proliferative retinopathy, you always will be at risk for new bleeding. You may need treatment for diabetic retinopathy more than once to protect your sight.
 

Treating Macular Edema

Macular edema is treated with laser surgery, using a procedure known as focal laser treatment. Your doctor places up to several hundred small laser burns in the areas of retinal leakage surrounding the macula. These burns slow the leakage of fluid and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina. The surgery is usually completed in one session, although further treatment may be needed.
 
You may need focal laser surgery more than once to control the leaking fluid. If you have macular edema in both eyes and require laser surgery, generally only one eye will be treated at a time, usually several weeks apart.
 
Focal laser treatment stabilizes vision. In fact, this procedure reduces the risk of vision loss by 50 percent. In a small number of cases, if vision is lost, it can be improved. Contact your eye care professional if you have vision loss.
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