Proliferative Retinopathy Treatment Using Advanced Techniques

May 28, 2017 — by Dr. Parks
Tags: Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Care

Proliferative retinopathy treatmentDiabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition because, without proper care, it can cause grave vision damage. In the more advanced stage, known as proliferative retinopathy, it could even cause total blindness. Anyone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes is at risk for the condition, which causes abnormal blood vessels to develop in your eye. With weak outer walls, these vessels can leak blood, affecting the surrounding parts of your retina.

Fortunately, at Pacific Retina Specialists, in Beverly Hills, CA, Dr. David Parks offers highly effective retina treatments, including procedures for proliferative retinopathy. He uses a variety of advanced techniques and can combine multiple methods for the most comprehensive care.

The Importance of Proliferative Retinopathy Treatment

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy can severely damage your vision, making it impossible to drive, engage in certain activities, or recognize the faces of loved ones. It can affect both central and peripheral vision, and it typically impacts both eyes at once. Proliferative retinopathy has no cure. Nonetheless, timely treatment can arrest the disease and prevent further damage to your eyesight. However, treatment is more likely to be successful at an earlier stage. That is why it is so vital that you schedule regular diabetic eye exams and contact your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • A sudden increase of flashes and/or floaters
  • Blurring
  • Fluctuations in your eyesight
  • Difficulties distinguishing color
  • Dark spots in your visual field

Laser Therapy

Scatter laser therapy is the oldest and still one of the most common treatments for proliferative retinopathy. Before your procedure, also known as photocoagulation, your doctor will numb your eye and place a special contact lens to help focus the laser beam. Then he will shine the laser on your retina. The energy will seal off the leaking blood vessels and shrink the abnormal vessels.

Photocoagulation is minimally invasive, so you can go home immediately after treatment. Afterwards, you should expect some blurriness, hazing, and spots in your vision. New abnormal vessels may develop in the future, so you may require additional laser treatments. You should schedule regular exams to check for worsening of the condition.

Injections for Diabetic Retinopathy

Intraocular injections can also help to slow the growth of new blood vessels. For proliferative retinopathy, Dr. Parks will typically recommend Macugen® (pegaptanib) or Avastin® (befacizumab). Because your eyes will be numb when you receive injections, you should experience little to no discomfort. As with laser treatment, your vision may be blurry afterwards, but this side effect will typically clear up in a few days.


If you suffered severe blood leakage, the accumulated fluid may block the path of light through your eye. By removing the vitreous gel inside your eye, Dr. Parks can eliminate the blood at the same time. This process will also give him easier access to your retina.

Once the gel is gone, the doctor will usually replace it with a saline solution, which will keep your retina in place.  Eventually, your eye will produce new vitreous gel, which will take the place of the saline. We will provide local anesthesia, as well as deeper sedation, so you will be comfortable and relaxed throughout your treatment. Typically, you can go home after vitrectomy.

Dietary Changes

Keeping your blood sugar stable can help to control proliferative retinopathy and prevent additional vision damage. It is important to work with an experienced specialist, who can monitor your diabetes, as well as other related health conditions. A dietician or nutritionist can also be an essential member of your team.

Contact Us for the Treatment You Need

With varied treatment options available, there is a good chance that we can save your eyesight. Contact us today if you have been diagnosed with or suspect that you may be suffering from proliferative retinopathy.

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