Cryotherapy: If retinopathy of prematurity does not improve, patients may undergo a procedure called cryotherapy. This procedure helps stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels. During the procedure, an instrument, called a cryoprobe, is placed on the outside of the eye. This instrument freezes the abnormal blood vessels growing inside the eye. As a result, the blood vessels stop growing and shrink. The patient does not feel any pain because the eye is numbed.
Photocoagulation: If retinopathy of prematurity does not improve, patients may undergo laser photocoagulation to remove abnormal retinal blood vessels. During the procedure, a laser is directed at the area of abnormal blood vessel growth. This destroys abnormal blood vessels.
Vitrectomy: In patients with diabetic retinopathy, abnormal blood vessels may leak blood into the vitreous. If this condition does not resolve on its own, it may be treated with a procedure called vitrectomy. The eye surgeon uses delicate instruments to remove the blood-filled vitreous. In addition to removing the vitreous fluid, scar tissue that is pulling on the retina is also removed. This helps reduce the risk of a retinal detachment and prevent the loss of vision. The removed tissue is then replaced with a salt solution (saline) in order to maintain the normal pressure and shape of the eye. Once the vitreous blood is removed, vision is restored.
Pneumatic retinopexy: A pneumatic retinopexy may also be performed to treat a detached retina. This technique is usually performed when the tear is located in the upper part of the retina. First, the tear is treated with cryotherapy or laser therapy. Then, a bubble of expandable gas is injected into to the eye cavity. The gas bubble expands over the next few days, pushing the retina to help it reattach to the wall of the eye.
Control blood sugar: Patients with diabetic retinopathy should closely monitor their blood sugar levels. Controlling blood sugar levels with medications and proper diet helps prevent the condition from developing or worsening.
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