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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the treatment for diabetic retinopathy?

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  • Dr John H. Chang

    Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

    Dr John Chang is a Sydney-based ophthalmologist with specialist training in cataract surgery, medical retina and comprehensive ophthalmology. At his Strathfield practice, Dr Chang provides … View Profile

    Treatment for diabetic retinopathy include observation only (for milder, non-sight threatening cases), or retinal laser and/or eye (intravitreal) injection treatments for more severe or sight-threatening cases.

    Retinal laser treatment may be used to "seal" leaky blood vessels of the retina, and can be a safe, painless therapy with long lasting effect for certain types of "macular oedema" (or swelling at the back of the eye). More extensive (pan-retinal) laser treatment may be required to prevent bleeding and retinal detachment from more advanced diabetic retinopathy ("proliferative" retinopathy).

    Eye injection treatments with medications such as Lucentis, Eylea, Avastin (anti-VEGF medications) and Ozurdex (steroid implant) are highly effective for diabetic macular oedema (or swelling of the macula). These injection treatments now form the mainstay of treatment for sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy based on extensive medical research and clinical trial results. Combination treatment with the above modalities are also possible in some cases.

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