Proliferative diabetic retinopathy
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is caused by the development of abnormal blood vessels in the retina. This can cause bleeding into the eye and detachment of the retina. Proliferative retinopathy is a very serious complication of diabetes that can lead to permanent visual impairment.
- Dilated examination
- Retinal photography
- Ocular coherence tomography/OCT
- Fluorescein angiography, now only performed infrequently
Traditional laser treatment, also known as retinal laser photocoagulation, though effective, is used less frequently nowadays because new drugs that work inside the eye are better at ensuring vision is not lost and is maintained long term. In some circumstances, focal laser photocoagulation can be useful when directed away from the macular area from specific sites of leakage from diseased blood vessels.
In this situation, laser treatment prevents the spread of fluid into the macular area where it can result in vision loss.
In advanced diabetic retinopathy, new blood vessels can grow into the retina and because they are diseased vessels, they can bleed into the eye, causing severe vision loss. Also they can cause a form of retinal detachment, leading to severe vision loss. If these new vessels are seen, a form of laser known as panretinal photocoagulation, can be applied to cause the new vessels to shrink and disappear.