What Happens If You Do Develop Diabetic Retinopathy?

As someone with diabetes, you probably see an eye doctor regularly to make sure you don't start developing symptoms of retinopathy. Your eye doctor may run a few tests and then send you home with the proclamation that you're fine. But what doesn't always get discussed is what happens and what your eye doctor can do if you do, indeed, develop this condition. Here's a look at the treatment and management protocols that are typically employed for diabetic retinopathy.

Better blood sugar control

If you do start showing signs of retinopathy, it is often, although not always, a sign that your blood sugar has not been kept as closely controlled as it should be. Your eye doctor will therefore insist that you meet with your general physician to review the management of your diabetes. You may be assigned a more strict diet, put on a higher dose of insulin, or told to check your blood sugar more often. None of these tactics will fix the damage already done to your eyes, but they will help keep it from worsening.

Laser treatment

Diabetic retinopathy basically involves the blood vessels in the back of your eye leaking fluid and even blood. New, small blood vessels may also form as a way of compensating for the weakening of the original blood vessels. One way your eye doctor may help thwart this problem is via laser treatment. Your eyes will be numbed, and the laser will then be used to seal off any small and/or leaking blood vessels. This should help stop the leaking of fluid and buildup of pressure that leads to vision loss.


Another possibility is having your eyes injected with a special medication that helps stop more new blood vessels from forming in your retina. This sounds more uncomfortable than it really is. Your eyes will be numbed prior to the procedure, and a very thin needle will be used so you won't feel a thing. Most patients need these injections about once a month. Over time, if your blood sugar becomes more stable and your eyes stop forming new blood vessels, you may be able to have less-frequent injections or do away with them altogether.

If you take good care of yourself and keep your blood sugar levels stable, then you'll minimize your risk of diabetic retinopathy. Still, it is nice to know there are effective treatment options if you do end up needing care.

Contact a company like Northwest Ophthalmology to learn more.