Laser Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
The application of laser or photocoagulation of the retina is performed in patients who have or about to have certain eye complications, such as abnormal vein formation in the retina (proliferative diabetic retinopathy. It is estimated that in 80% of cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, treatment with laser in a timely and appropriate manner is able to stop the progression of the disease.
Patients should be monitored and undergo laser sessions until the diabetic retinopathy is controlled. If hemorrhaging continues, a retinal study should be requested to identify the affected areas and to apply more laser treatment. If the hemorrhage does not reabsorb within 1-3 months after the laser treatment, surgery (vitrectomy) should be considered.
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy
Before the procedure, you will be given eye drops to dilate your pupils. Once your pupils are sufficiently dilated, you will be seated and will place your chin on a chin rest. A special contact lens will be placed on your eye, which helps the doctor aim the laser. With each pulse of the laser, you will see a flash of light. Generally, 800 to 1000 shots are applied per session to have beneficial results.
After laser photocoagulation of the retina, your vision may be blurred during the first 24 hours. You may see floaters, but these will diminish over time.
The laser treatment on the retina can have side effects including:
Laser photocoagulation is also used to treat other diseases with the same early symptoms as diabetic retinopathy, such as venous occlusions of the retina that result in a lack of oxygen and form abnormal veins.
The laser is also used in retinal detachments during surgery and as an outpatient procedure in the office to treat retinal tears that are the beginning of a retinal detachment.
In summary, laser treatment is a fundamental tool and indispensable for problems related to the retina.
Diabetic Retinopathy Before Laser
Diabetic Retinopathy After Laser
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