Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the most advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, and is classified by the growth of new blood vessels on the retina. These blood vessels are abnormal and fragile, and are susceptible to leaking blood and fluid onto the retina, which can cause severe vision loss and even blindness.
If blood leaks onto the retina, patients may begin to notice floaters in their vision, which are actually specks of blood that appear in front of your vision. While floaters can sometimes clear up on their own, it is important to see your doctor as soon as you notice them, as they can recur and lead to severely blurred vision and vision loss.
Patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy usually seek laser surgery to treat their condition. This treatment is known as scatter laser treatment and is used to shrink the newly developed abnormal blood vessels using up to 2,000 laser burns in the area of the retina. This treatment is usually performed in two or more sessions because of the high number of laser burns necessary. Scatter laser treatment is most effective before new blood vessels have started to leak, and may slightly reduce patients' color and night vision, while preserving your central vision. Severe bleeding may require a vitrectomy, or removal of the vitreous, to remove blood from the center of the eye.