Below, I speak on diabetic retinopathy. If you are unable to watch this video, or would like to instead refer to the text, this is available beneath the video.
Diabetic Retinopathy> Treatment
The treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on which part of the retina is affected and in what way. When people have macular oedema, it can be treated with injections, laser and very often just simple observation. We know from research that certain patches of leakage don’t necessarily threaten vision. For example, when bleeding occurs into the vitreous, then it may only require observation. But sometimes if the bleeding is recurrent, or it’s affecting vision significantly or doesn’t clear, then surgery is necessary. This surgery, which is called a vitrectomy, involves removing vitreous material from the eye.
Laser Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy
Laser treatments for diabetic retinopathy usually come under one of two types. The first type, and the most common, is treatment near the centre of the macula for leakage. By doing a small number of spots of laser treatment close to the centre, we can often prevent leakage from occurring and sometimes even improve vision significantly.
The other type of laser that can be used is called scatter laser photocoagulation. This is where we apply lots of spots of laser to the edge of the retina in order to try and either cause abnormal new vessels that have grown to go away or to prevent their growth. The scatter laser is thought to work for diabetic retinopathy by effectively killing spots of retina in the periphery that we tend not to notice significantly in our day-to-day vision. By killing these spots, we reduce the amounts of vascular endothelial growth factor that are formed, reducing the drive to make new blood vessels grow and to keep them there.