La Mesa Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, especially for a long time, you are at risk of complications affecting your eyes – the most serious of which is a disease called diabetic retinopathy. The disorder affects the tiny blood vessels that nourish your retina, or the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can threaten the health of these blood vessels and prevent them from keeping the retina functioning optimally.

The La Mesa diabetic retinopathy treatment team at California Retina Associates believes the first step toward complete treatment of the disease is to stabilize your blood sugar levels, as well as your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. We encourage you to work with other members of your medical team to get your diabetes under control. We also offer a wide range of approved treatments to help stop complications of the disease from robbing you of your precious eyesight.

Laser Treatment

In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, known as nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels that nourish the retina can leak blood and fluid into the vitreous, or the clear jelly-like material that fills the center of the eye.

Our retina specialists can use lasers to seal off these leaking blood vessels without disturbing the surrounding healthy tissue. Sealing off the leaking blood vessels with a laser can also stop swelling in the retina – particularly around the macula, or the region of the retina that controls central vision, to help treat a complication of diabetic retinopathy called macular edema. The heat from the laser not only seals the blood vessels but also shrinks them.

Sometimes several laser treatments for diabetic retinopathy are needed to achieve the optimal results.

Anti-VEGF Medications

In the more advanced form of the disease, called proliferative diabetic retinopathy, new, abnormal blood vessels can develop in the eye, leaking blood and other fluid. Our La Mesa diabetic retinopathy treatment team often uses special medications known as anti-VEGF drugs to stop the growth of these blood vessels. Anti-VEGF drugs like Avastin or Lucentis block vascular endothelial growth factor, which triggers the growth of abnormal blood vessels and stimulates leakage. These drugs are injected in small amounts directly into the middle of the eye. This can be performed in an office or hospital setting.

Several courses of injections may be needed to attain the desired outcomes.


In advanced cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels can leak blood into the vitreous. Vitrectomy is a procedure that entails removing the vitreous, blood and scar tissue from the eye. The space from which the vitreous was removed is then replaced with a gas bubble or silicone gel, to help the retina heal in place. Gas dissolves on its own, but silicone oil requires an additional procedure.

Vitrectomy is normally performed in a hospital setting on an outpatient basis. A laser can be used during vitrectomy to prevent further bleeding and the growth of abnormal blood vessels.

Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment Santee, El Cajon, and Spring Valley

California Retina Associates has a full-service office conveniently located in La Mesa, serving all surrounding East County areas. We treat patients from the following San Diego neighborhoods:

  • Lake Murray
  • Rolando Park
  • Allied Gardens
  • Lemon Grove
  • Fletcher Hills
  • El Cajon
  • Mount Helix
  • Grossmont
  • Del Cerro
  • College Area
  • Spring Valley
  • Rancho San Diego
  • Casa De Oro
  • Santee
  • San Carlos
  • Granite Hills
  • Lakeside
  • Mission Trails

To make an appointment with our team of retinal specialists, please call our La Mesa office at 619.425.7755 today.