Laser treatment of diabetic retinopathy:

The application of laser or photocoagulation of the retina is indicated in patients with complications such as abnormal vein formation in the retina (proliferative diabetic retinopathy) or patients who are about to have them. 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 stabilization of the diabetic retinopathy. If the hemorrhaging continues, a retinal study should be requested to identify the affected areas and to add more laser. If the hemorrhage does not reabsorb after laser treatment within 1-3 months, surgery (vitrectomy) should be considered

Photo: "Normal Retina".

Photo: "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.

THE LASER TREATMENT ON THE RETINA IS DONE IN THE OFFICE. THERE IS NO NEED TO FAST BEFORE THE PROCEDURE AND, AFTERWARDS, THE PATIENT CAN RESUME THEIR DAILY ACTIVITIES WITHIN A FEW HOURS.

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 adverse effects including:

  • brightness_1  Mild blurred vision
  • brightness_1  Reduced night vision
  • brightness_1   Difficulty focusing
  • brightness_1   Reduced Peripheral Vision
  • brightness_1   Colors appearing dull or faded
HOWEVER, IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT DIABETIC RETINOPATHY THAT IS NOT TREATED CAN CAUSE IRREVERSIBLE BLINDNESS.

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.

Photo: "Diabetic Retinopathy before laser".

Photo: "Diabetic Retinopathy after laser".

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