How Is DR Treated?
Treatments for diabetic retinopathy range from routine monitoring to laser therapy.
Frank Siringo, M.D., O.D., chief of vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at Omni Eye Specialists in Denver, discusses treatment of diabetic retinopathy, which can range from simple monitoring to laser therapy.
In terms of the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, the most important thing we recommend is maintaining a hemoglobin A1C of 7% or below. There's very, very good data from multiple studies to suggest that the risk of vision loss is significantly lower if the hemoglobin A1C is 7% or below on an ongoing basis.
Many patients with diabetic retinopathy don't need any treatment at all. They simply need monitoring, because if they transition to a phase that needs treatment, the sooner we find out, the better. Patients with advanced diabetic retinopathy, in particular the proliferative diabetic retinopathy, they have new abnormal blood vessels growing into the retina that are very fragile and prone to bleeding. For those patients, the standard of care is to do laser treatment, which cuts the risk of severe vision loss by 50 percent over their lifetime.