Laser photocoagulation is a surgical procedure that is used to help correct seepage from a patient’s eye. This seepage may be due to damaged macula or from a ruptured blood vessel.
How Laser Photocoagulation Works
A doctor uses a laser to cause the tissue around the location of the leak to coagulate and seal. The light energy from the laser converts to heat and this concentrated beam seals the rupture. The procedure makes it possible that the damage is either partially or completely repaired; thus, restoring at least some visual acuity for the patient. As a bonus, laser photocoagulation leaves behind less scar tissue which may promote more vision return.
Conditions treated with laser photocoagulation
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Macular degeneration
- Retinal ischemia
- Posterior capsular opacification
- Brought on as a result of cataract surgery
- Helps remove elements that obscure vision
Advantages of Laser Photocoagulation
- Often the treatment is able to be administered on an outpatient basis. Laser photocoagulation is performed using a local or topical anesthetic
- For those suffering from damaged retinal blood vessels (or other diabetic retinopathy), laser photocoagulation may mean a quicker recovery time and/or better results than older methods.
- Patients are also likely to experience less pain during treatment and post-operative period.
What to Expect After Surgery
After surgery, you will need someone to drive you home from the doctor’s office or clinic. This is because eye drops will be used to dilate the pupils and they will stay dilated for several hours after. It is also important to remember to bring sunglasses as they will help keep bright light out of your eyes while they are dilated. Your vision may stay blurry and you may feel some pain for a day or two after the treatment.
It is important to remember that laser surgery will not restore any vision that has already been lost. However, when done promptly, laser photocoagulation may help to slow the rate of any further damage.
Possible Side Effects
Luckily there are only few potential side effects that can occur with laser photocoagulation. Furthermore, when side effects do occur, they occur infrequently and are temporary in nature. These side effects include:
- Loss in peripheral vision
- Decrease in the ability to recognize certain colors
- Permanent reduction in night vision capability
- Small chance of hemorrhaging in the eye, resulting in partial loss of vision
Patients experiencing any side effects should immediately report them to their doctor.
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