Retinal Laser Treatment

What is retinal laser treatment?

Retinal laser treatment involves the use of lasers to treat retinal disease. A laser is a concentrated beam of light that can be focussed on a very small area. Retinal lasers are designed to pass through non-retinal tissue without damaging it to reach the targeted diseased area within the retina.

How does laser treatment work?

The lasers used for the treatment of retinal disease are mainly thermal lasers. The light of the laser is absorbed by targeted tissue and converted into heat. The heat destroys the specifically targeted area within the retina without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue. The damaged area heals with the formation of microscopic scars that can close leaking blood vessels or seal tears in the retina.

What are the different types of retinal laser treatment?

The different types of laser treatment are:

  • Focal Laser Treatment: The laser treatment is focussed on specific areas within the retina to stop or slow down the leakage of blood and fluid into the eye from abnormal or damaged blood vessels. The procedure is also known as photocoagulation.
  • Scatter Laser Treatment: Abnormal blood vessels in regions away from the centre of the retina (macula) are treated with scattered laser burns. The treatment causes shrinkage of the abnormal blood vessels. The procedure is also known as panretinal photocoagulation.

What conditions can be treated with retinal laser treatment?

Laser treatments can be used for conditions such as:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal vein occlusions
  • Age-related macular changes
  • Retinal breaks or detachment
  • Ocular tumours

How do you prepare for laser eye treatment?

No specific preparation is required prior to the procedure. When coming to the office for a retinal laser treatment, you should bring your glasses or contact lenses along with the lens solution, and sunglasses. You should also arrange for transportation back home after laser eye treatment as you will not be able to drive immediately after the procedure due to temporary light sensitivity.

What happens during the laser eye treatment?

During the procedure, eye drops will be administered to numb the eye and dilate the pupils. The treatment is usually painless and performed with the patient in a seated position, fully awake and comfortable. You will see flashes of bright light during the treatment. The procedure will be completed within 30 minutes.

What are the restrictions or precautions necessary immediately after laser eye surgery?

You can go home immediately following laser eye treatment with virtually no restrictions. However, as your eyes may be temporarily sensitive to light, you may need to wear sunglasses for a few hours. Most patients are able to return to work the next day.