Published on August 13th, 2012 | by ddeupree
Laser retinal photocoagulation procedure
Laser retinal photocoagulation involves using a small, powerful beam of light that is designed to destroy the fragile, abnormal blood vessels (Choroidal neovascular membrane -CNVM) found in certain retinal conditions.
Laser retinal photocoagulation can also destroy a small amount of the overlying retinal tissue. Although the destruction of retinal tissue during the procedure can itself cause some loss of vision, this is done in the hope of protecting the fovea and preserving the finely-tuned vision it provides.
How effective is laser surgery?
Controlled clinical trials, sponsored by the National Eye Institute, have shown that laser retinal photocoagulation can reduce future vision loss from macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. The treatment is most effective when:
- The abnormal blood vessels (CNVM) have not grown into the center of the fovea, where they can affect vision.
- The eye doctor is able to identify and destroy the entire area of CNVM.
Laser retinal photocoagulation usually does not restore lost vision. However, it does reduce the chance of further CNVM growth and any resulting vision loss. In some cases, if laser reduces or eliminates leaking, the remaining leaked fluid will naturally be resorbed into the retina, thus reducing swelling. Less swelling can result in better visual acuity. Be advised however that, in these cases, the laser itself did not restore vision, the absence of fluid and swelling allows for a certain degree of visual recover.
Does laser retinal surgery cure retinal diseases?
No. Macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy cannot be cured.
People with macular degeneration who experience one bout of abnormal blood vessel growth may have recurrent CNVM in the same or both eyes. Each recurrence can damage vision and may require additional laser therapy. It is crucial to detect and treat CNVM as early as possible before it causes significant visual impairment.