Dr. Black's Eye Associates of Southern Indiana
302 W. 14th Street, Suite 100A
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
Phone: (812) 284-0660
Monday—Friday: 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, or experience floaters or retinal detachment, you have access to our fellowship-trained retina specialist and the most effective treatments available anywhere.
How is DIABETIC RETINOPATHY treated?
During the first three stages of diabetic retinopathy, no treatment is needed, unless you have macular edema. To prevent progression of diabetic retinopathy, people with diabetes should control their levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol.
Proliferative retinopathy is treated with laser surgery. This procedure is called scatter laser treatment. Scatter laser treatment helps to shrink the abnormal blood vessels. Your doctor places 1,000 to 2,000 tiny laser burns in the areas of the retina away from the macula, causing the abnormal blood vessels to shrink. Because a high number of laser burns are necessary, two or more sessions usually are required to complete treatment. Although you may notice some loss of your side vision, scatter laser treatment can save the rest of your sight. Scatter laser treatment may slightly reduce your color vision and night vision.
Scatter laser treatment works better before the fragile, new blood vessels have started to bleed. That is why it is important to have regular, comprehensive dilated eye exams. Even if bleeding has started, scatter laser treatment may still be possible, depending on the amount of bleeding.
If the bleeding is severe, you may need a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy. During a vitrectomy, blood is removed from the center of your eye.
(National Eye Institute)
How is MACULAR DEGENERATION treated?
Lucentis® & Avastin® therapy
Lucentis is FDA-approved as safe and effective in the treatment of “wet” macular degeneration. This more advanced type of the disease is characterized by growth of abnormal, fragile blood vessels in the retina.
Although it was not specifically developed for this purpose, Avastin, too, has been known to produce good results when administered to treat macular degeneration. Your doctor may recommend monthly injections of either Lucentis or Avastin, both of which target a protein called “VEGF” that contributes to the growth of the abnormal blood vessels.
How is RETINAL DETACHMENT treated?
Small holes and tears are treated with laser surgery or a freeze treatment called cryopexy. These procedures are usually performed in the doctor’s office. During laser surgery, tiny burns are made around the hole to “weld” the retina back into place. Cryopexy freezes the area around the hole and helps reattach the retina.
Retinal detachments are treated with surgery that may require the patient to stay in the hospital.
In some cases, a scleral buckle, a tiny synthetic band, is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina.
If necessary, a vitrectomy may also be performed. During a vitrectomy, the doctor makes a tiny incision in the sclera (white of the eye). Next, small instrument is placed into the eye to remove the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills the center of the eye and helps the eye maintain a round shape. Gas is often injected into the eye to replace the vitreous and reattach the retina; the gas pushes the retina back against the wall of the eye. During the healing process, the eye makes fluid that gradually replaces the gas and fills the eye. With all of these procedures, either laser or cryopexy is used to “weld” the retina back in place.
With modern therapy, more than 90% of those with a retinal detachment can be successfully treated, although sometimes a second treatment is needed. However, the visual outcome is not always predictable. The final visual result may not be known for up to several months following surgery. Even under the best of circumstances, and even after multiple attempts at repair, treatment sometimes fails and vision may eventually be lost. Visual results are best if the retinal detachment is repaired before the macula (the center region of the retina responsible for fine, detailed vision) detaches. That is why it is important to contact an eye care professional immediately if you see a sudden or gradual increase in the number of floaters and/or light flashes, or a dark curtain over the field of vision.
What can be done about FLOATERS?
For people who have floaters that are simply annoying, no treatment is recommended. On rare occasions, floaters can be so dense and numerous that they significantly affect vision. In these cases a vitrectomy may be needed.
A vitrectomy removes the vitreous gel, along with its floating debris, from the eye. The vitreous is replaced with a salt solution. Because the vitreous is mostly water, you will not notice any change between the salt solution and the original vitreous. This operation carries significant risks to sight because of possible complications, which include retinal detachment, retinal tears, and cataract. Most eye surgeons are reluctant to recommend this surgery unless the floaters seriously interfere with vision.