What is laser?
A laser is a pure, high-intensity beam of light that can be focused and delivered onto a very small part of the retina. It allows selectively treatment of the desired area while leaving the surrounding tissues untouched. The absorbed energy creates a microscopic ‘burn’ spot to stop leaks, destroy lesions or weld tissues together. It is usually advised for diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions, retinal tears and holes, wet ARMD, tumors and others.
What happens during laser treatment?
Laser therapy is not a surgery. There are no special preparations before laser treatment except dilation of the pupils. You should eat normally and take your regularly prescribed medications before the laser. The blood sugars/BP need not be perfect for the procedure to be performed.
Retinal laser surgery is performed in the OPD. Eye drops will be given to dilate the pupil and numb the eye. The treatment is performed while you are seated in a chair, similar to the one used for regular eye examinations or in a reclining position. You will remain awake and comfortable. Treatment is usually painless, although rarely some patients may require a numbing injection for discomfort or sensitivity to the laser light.
The laser treatment usually takes 5-30 minutes to complete, and you can go home immediately following surgery. Arrangements for transportation should be made in advance since you may not be able to drive right away.
Multiple fresh laser spots seen in a part of the retina
What are the restrictions and side effects after laser?
There are virtually no restrictions following retinal laser treatment, and you should be able to resume your normal activities and work schedule the following day.
Most patients notice mild vision changes following their laser treatment, although there may be some temporary blurring for a few weeks. In addition, depending on the condition being treated, some may notice a permanent blind spot or decrease in peripheral and night vision.
What are the post laser instructions?
You can eat, drink and move about as you did before the laser. You can watch television and use the computer immediately when the vision returns after the effects of dilation ends.
Will I need more than one laser treatment?
It will take several weeks to months before we can tell whether the laser treatment has been successful. Many patients, however, will need more several sittings to control their eye problem and prevent further loss of vision. Laser may be repeated within days/weeks/months or years.