There are various types of laser procedures your Erie Retinal Surgery physician may use to treat diseases of the retina and macula. The 3 most common types are laser retinopexy, focul, panretinal photocoagulation and macular focal laser photocoagulation.
1. Laser retinopexy (treatment of retinal tears and retinal detachments)
When a retinal tear or a small retinal detachment occurs, laser treatment may be applied to prevent further accumulation of fluid beneath the retina and minimize the risk of a vision-threatening retinal detachment. The laser is applied around the retinal defect. Over the course of a few weeks, the treated area develops a scar, which forms a tight seal between the retina and the underlying tissue. This procedure is sometimes performed around weak areas in the retina, such as lattice degeneration, in patients who may be at higher risk for retinal detachment.
2. Panretinal photocoagulation (for diabetic retinopathy and retinal vascular disease)
In cases of advanced diabetic retinopathy or other forms of retinal vascular disease (e.g., retinal vein occlusion), abnormal new blood vessels grow that can damage the retina. These new pathologic blood vessels – if left untreated – can permanently damage the retina and cause irreversible vision loss by causing bleeds (vitreous hemorrhage), retinal detachment and swelling of the retina. Panretinal photocoagulation, also known as PRP, involves the application of laser to areas of the peripheral retina with poor blood flow (ischemic). The resulting laser scars prevent new blood vessel formation in the hopes of preserving central vision.
3. Focal Laser
Macular edema is treated with laser surgery. This procedure is called focal laser treatment. Your ophthalmologist places up to several hundred small laser burns in the areas of retinal leakage surrounding the macula. These burns slow the leakage of fluid and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina. The surgery is usually completed in one session. Further treatment may be needed.