Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Penn State Eye Center includes highly trained experts who specialize in treating diabetic retinopathy. Our surgeons have more experience with procedures to treat the disease than you’ll find at most eye centers. We feature the latest diagnostic technology, operated by staff who have special training and certification. 

We are also involved in diabetic retinopathy research to better understand the disease and develop new treatments. You may qualify for a clinical trial, which can offer access to treatments not available elsewhere.


If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to get regular eye exams. Many people with early diabetic retinopathy experience no symptoms.

Our specialists can examine your eyes to detect the presence of diabetic retinopathy and determine the best treatment for your diabetic retinopathy if indicated. 

We use a variety of diagnostic techniques to determine if a patient has diabetic retinopathy, including:

  • Tonometry, which measure the fluid pressure inside your eyes
  • A slit lamp exam, which checks the structures inside your eyes
  • A dilated eye examination, which examines your retina

In addition, we have the most advanced retinal imaging equipment to evaluate the extent of diabetic retinopathy and measure the impact of our treatments:

  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT), which measures swelling of the retina
  • Fluorescein angiography, which examines vascular damage 

The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy is prevention. Managing your diabetes through a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and other healthy lifestyle habits can help slow diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions.

If you have early diabetic retinopathy, you may not need treatment. We may want to regularly check your condition. Treatment is usually needed when you have new blood vessels in your retina or you develop macular edema.

Advanced diabetic retinopathy is usually treated with some form of eye surgery:

  • Photocoagulation, which uses a laser to seal or destroy abnormal blood vessels in the retina
  • Intraocular medications, which prevent leakage and growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina
  • Vitrectomy, the removal of vitreous gel from your eye


Treatment for diabetic retinopathy involves interdisciplinary care from several departments, including:


Our clinics are located at:

Penn State Eye Center
University Physicians Center
200 Campus Drive, Entrance 1, Suite 800
Hershey, PA 17033
Phone: 717-531-5690
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Groups, Classes & Support

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other parents and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

Learn more about support groups offered at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Research & Clinical Trials

Penn State Eye Center sometimes seeks volunteers to participate in clinical trials related to diabetic retinopathy.

Current clinical trials

A Longitudinal Study to Identify Early Non-Invasive Ocular Markers for Diabetic Complications (IRB #704)

This study is recruiting patients with newly diagnosed (within the past 24 months) type 2 diabetes and healthy volunteers. Volunteers will undergo eye dilation and non-invasive eye tests, one visit per year for 3 years. They will receive compensation for time and travel.

Principal investigator: Jeffrey Sundstrom, MD, PhD
Contact: Ellen Stoute, 717-531-4696

Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition affecting the retina. The most concerning conditions associated with it are diabetic macular edema and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. People with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can be affected by this condition, which, if untreated, can lead to reduced vision and blindness.

Please visit our Health Information Library for more information.

We can help

If you have a question or want to schedule an appointment, call us at