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Diabetic Retinopathy: Diagnosis and Treatment

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Treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on the severity and the type of retinopathy a person has. (mayoclinic.com) Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy usually does not need any treatment plan. But it does need continuous monitoring by an eye specialist to keep tabs on its progression. Most of the time, with tight control of blood sugar the progression can be delayed and maintained. But advanced or proliferative diabetic retinopathy does need treatment plans or sometimes surgical intervention depending on its severity.

Diagnostic procedures for determining the severity of diabetic retinopathy include fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Fluorescien angiography, or photography of the retina, consists of an injection of contrast material through the veins of the arm which dyes the eyes. Once the eyes are dyed, images of the parts of the eyes are taken to analyze the severity and damage to the blood vessels and retina. A treatment plan will then be considered depending on the severity. OCT is a procedure in which cross sectional images of the retina are taken in order to determine the leakage into the retinal tissue and vitreous (middle of the eye). A treatment plan is then determined accordingly.

Different treatment options of the diabetic retinopathy include focal laser treatment or photocoagulation, scatter laser treatment or panretinal coagulation and vitrectomy. (National Eye Institute)

Focal Laser Treatment or Photocoagulation:
1. is a procedure that slows or stops the leakage of the abnormal blood vessels inside the eye.
2.The blood vessels are treated with the laser.
3. Usually one single session is needed for the treatment.
4. Patients experience blurred vision for at least one day after the treatment.
5. Small spots may appear in the field of vision that disappear within a few weeks.
6. Focal laser treatment is done mostly in a doctor's office or eye clinic.

Scatter Laser Treatment or Panretinal Photocoagulation:
1. is done to shrink the abnormal blood vessels.
2. is usually done in the doctor's office or clinic.
3. areas of retina away from the macula are treated with scattered laser treatments.
4. scar tissue might develop.
5. two or more sessions are needed for treatment.
6. patient has blurred vision for about a day.
7. some loss of peripheral or night vision is possible after treatment.

1. is done to remove blood and scar tissue from the mid-eye or vitreous of the eye.
2. is done in the surgical center under either general or local anesthetics.
3. a tiny incision is made into the middle of the eye to remove the scar tissue or blood.
4. saline water is then injected to replace the lost jelly-like substance in order to keep the eye from collapsing.
5. sometimes a gas bubble is placed in order to reattach the retina.
6. when the gas bubble is placed the patient has to remain in a prone position for several days until it dissolves.
7. an eye patch and medicated eye drops are prescribed for several days after the treatment.
8. Vitrectomy may be followed by a laser treatment. (mayoclinic.com)

While the different treatment options as mentioned above stops or slow down the progression of the diabetic retinopathy, there is really no cure for the condition. Follow-up laser treatments may be needed. Regular follow-up checkups are strongly recommended after any treatment done to the eye. Research is being done on ways to inject the eyes with medications that could slow down or stall the blood vessels becoming damaged. (mayoclinic.com) To avoid or prevent getting this serious condition the best thing to do is to have a tight control over your blood sugar. Diet, exercise and medications are the key points that need to be taken into serious consideration in order to avoid future complications. Because, OUR LIFE MATTERS.

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