There are various treatments for diabetic retinopathy, depending on the stage of the condition:
- Laser photocoagulation - Used to treat nonproliferative retinopathy that has led to macular edema. A laser is used to seal the leaking blood vessels, which decreases tissue swelling. That in turn decreases the likelihood of further vision deterioration.
- Panretinal photocoagulation - Used to treat proliferative retinopathy. It stops the growth of new blood vessels, thereby decreasing the likelihood of vitreous hemorrhage and retinal detachment.
- Vitrectomy - A surgical treatment that can help restore vision by removing a vitreous hemorrhage or repairing retinal detachment.
There are also several new treatments being evaluated to determine if they can retard progression of retinopathy or decrease vision loss associated with it. These treatments include oral medications for nonproliferative disease, and intraocular injections of anti-inflammatory medications (steroids) for macular edema.