Focal Laser Treatment
Your doctor may recommend focal laser treatment to your retina to treat swelling of the center part of your retina, also called macular edema. This condition arises from damage to blood vessels inside of your eye due to diseases like diabetes and blocked blood vessels known as retinal vein occlusions.
Treatment is helpful at reducing the risk of further loss of vision. Typically, treatment does not result in vision improvement. Your retinal specialist may advise focal laser treatment because without such treatment, you stand a greater chance of losing more vision over time.
Treatment is administered in the office with the use of a topical anesthetic eye drop to keep your eye comfortable. You will have a special contact lens placed onto the eye and a bright light will be shown in the eye. You will experience bright flashes of light during treatment but typically there is no pain.
The treatment takes a few minutes. Immediately afterwards your vision will be dark. Do not be concerned as this is short-lived. For several minutes after treatment, everything may look pink or purple to you. Vision may remain somewhat blurry for the remainder of the day following treatment and, rarely, for several days thereafter.
Although treatment is highly effective at reducing further loss of vision due to your retinal disease and is very safe, there are some side effects and rare complications that you must be made aware of.
The most common side effect of treatment is the appearance of spots in the vision, typically just off to the side of your central vision. Although in most cases these spots will go away, they can rarely persist indefinitely.
Very rarely, loss of vision can occur as a complication of laser treatment.
Most retina specialists have never experienced this complication in any of their patients but it has been reported. Overall, it is among the safest types of laser eye treatment one can have.
Focal laser treatment is not a cure for your condition. It simply helps to stabilize or control complications of your disease that have caused vision loss or threaten to cause vision loss. Your disease may still progress and the need for additional laser treatment over your lifetime is very common.
The effects of laser treatment may take several months to become evident. Your doctor will arrange for follow-up evaluations to monitor your response to laser treatment.
Controlling your diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol are the most important factors in maintaining the health of your eyes.
Your doctor at Retinal Consultants is dedicated to keeping your eyes as healthy as possible and is commited to being available to answer all of your questions or concerns about your disease and treatment. Please call our office if you have any concerns about your condition or the treatment that has been advised.