Treatment of diabetic retinopathy depends on the location of the disease and the degree of damage to the retina. If retinopathy occurs in the peripheral retina, careful monitoring of the disease may be all that is necessary. When retinopathy affects the macula and central vision, laser treatment is usually necessary.
In cases of background diabetic retinopathy, lasers may be used to seal blood vessels that have leaked serum. Laser treatment may not halt the disease entirely but can reduce further visual loss by delaying the onset of proliferative retinopathy. The proliferative stage of the disease is also treated with lasers to curtail the growth of new abnormal blood vessels. Laser treatment of diabetic retinopathy is usually done on an outpatient basis in an office or outpatient center.