Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
The clinical nature of the disease will determine the type of treatment recommended by Dr. Cohen and Dr. Kanter. Historically, focal laser surgery (photocoagulation) had been indicated in patients who have clinically significant macular edema (CSME) -- a specific level of retinal swelling first recognized to be potentially detrimental to vision in a study sponsored by the National Eye Institute. Laser photocoagulation works by helping to "dry up" the swollen retina, thus reducing the chance of progressive vision loss from the disease. The current standard of care, however, has evolved and includes the use of specific medications that are injected directly into the eye. These medications include a group of compounds known as “anti-VEGF” drugs, including Lucentis and Avastin. Steroids are also used in certain specific cases to help minimize the risk of diabetic vision loss. Retina Vitreous Consultants has been active in investigating the potential use of Lucentis, Avastin, or steroid injections into the eye in combination with immediate or deferred laser treatment to achieve maximal visual improvement in diabetic eye disease while reducing the treatment burden of frequent intraocular injections.
Patients suffering from proliferative diabetic retinopathy benefit from the more aggressive pan retinal photocoagulation (PRP). Regression of abnormal blood vessel growth and reduction of the potential for intraocular bleeding and scar tissue formation may result from PRP.
Diabetic vision loss secondary to blood or scar tissue within the eye or retinal detachment may be remedied by intraocular surgery. Vitrectomy surgery may be performed to drain blood, remove retinal scar tissue, reattach previously detached retina, and help to rehabilitate vision once impaired by diabetic eye disease.