What is a Focal Retinal Laser?
Retinal laser therapy, also known as focal laser photocoagulation, is an outpatient procedure that treats macular edema (fluid buildup, swelling) and/or small breaks in the retina. These conditions affect the retina and threaten vision. The retina is a thin membrane in the back of the eye that senses light. It captures images from the eye lens and sends them along the optic nerve to the brain. Retinal laser therapy can preserve the health of the retina and prevent vision loss.
Who benefits from a Focal Laser?
Patients at risk of, or who already have a retinal tear can benefit from a Focal Laser. Retinal tears can be caused by advanced diabetes, eye injury, extreme nearsightedness, and age. Left untreated, retinal tears can lead to detachment of the retina from the eye wall causing permanent vision loss and blindness. Focal laser therapy generates an inflammatory reaction that allows the torn retina to reattach.
What are the benefits of the treatment?
Laser treatment may or may not restore vision that is already lost, but, when done on time, laser treatment will likely reduce the risk of future vision loss. Therefore, this can be beneficial for patients at risk of vision loss caused by retinal macular edema.
What are the uncommon risks?
⦁ Laser treatment may cause your central vision to become temporarily worse due to increased macular edema (swelling).
⦁ Bleeding in the eye (vitreous hemorrhage).
⦁ Traction retinal detachment.
⦁ Accidental laser burn of the fovea (a depression in the central macula that contains no blood vessels). This results in central vision loss or central “blind spots”.
What should I expect after the procedure?
⦁ You should be able to return to most activities right away.
⦁ You may feel a mild ache in your eye or see flashes of light for a day or two.
⦁ Your vision may be blurry for up to a week.
⦁ You may have a headache for a few hours.
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