• Severe diabetic retinopathy with neovascular proliferation may produce severe vitreous hemorrhage that prevents laser therapy. Retinal ablation, if indicated, can be partly accomplished by cryopexy. In a small series of cases, cryotherapy to the retina was not apparently harmful and sometimes seemed beneficial. Blood absorption seemed more rapid and recurrent bleeding less frequent; however, vitreous hemorrhages in proliferative diabetic retinopathy are too variable in their natural history of absorption and recurrence to permit any definite conclusion as to the value of this method of retinal ablation. A national collaborative study with lengthy follow-ups will be necessary to determine whether chorioretinal scars produced by laser therapy and those produced by cryotherapy will afford similar protection from the forward course of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, vitreous hemorrhage and blindness. In the meantime, this report is intended to alert ophthalmologists that retinal cryoablation is a conservation alternative to "early" vitrectomy for vitreous hemorrhages from diabetic retinopathy.
Schimek RA, Spencer R. Cryopexy Treatment of Proliferative Diabetic RetinopathyRetinal Cryoablation in Patients With Severe Vitreous Hemorrhage. Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(7):1276-1280. doi:10.1001/archopht.1979.01020020018004