According to this article, on nei.nih.gov, there are 4 stages. I was diagnosed with PDR in 1980’s when treatments were much different than today. I did not get laser treatment until 6 years after I had been told they saw ‘some changes’, but nothing for them to ‘treat’. I basically reached stage 4 (PDR) when they did laser, and soon after required a vitrectomy. However, I still have pretty good vision 30 years later.
You may have stage 1, where the degree of swelling may have gone down and no longer be visible, or maybe missed. I know there are many other treatments available today, performed in the earlier stages. Most likely your doctor simply meant there was nothing to ‘treat’.
Did the prior doctor take images to document the minimal background DR ? If so, it’s helpful to have them transferred to your new doctors. If you have doubts about your Dr, you should find another !
(from nih website)
Diabetic retinopathy may progress through four stages:
Mild nonproliferative retinopathy. Small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina’s tiny blood vessels, called microaneurysms, occur at this earliest stage of the disease. These microaneurysms may leak fluid into the retina.
Moderate nonproliferative retinopathy. As the disease progresses, blood vessels that nourish the retina may swell and distort. They may also lose their ability to transport blood. Both conditions cause characteristic changes to the appearance of the retina and may contribute to DME.
Severe nonproliferative retinopathy. Many more blood vessels are blocked, depriving blood supply to areas of the retina. These areas secrete growth factors that signal the retina to grow new blood vessels.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). At this advanced stage, growth factors secreted by the retina trigger the proliferation of new blood vessels, which grow along the inside surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel, the fluid that fills the eye. The new blood vessels are fragile, which makes them more likely to leak and bleed. Accompanying scar tissue can contract and cause retinal detachment—the pulling away of the retina from underlying tissue, like wallpaper peeling away from a wall. Retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss.