Laser Photocoagulation

Diabetic retinopathy is a persistent, progressive vision-threatening disease that can affect people with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. It is a potential damage to the blood vessels in the retina that may result in blood seepage and growth of fragile new cells. When the delicate network of blood vessels in the retina is damaged it can lead to vision impairment. If left untreated, it can pave the way for permanent vision loss. Frequent eye checkups can help to detect diabetic retinopathy before the vision gets badly impaired. The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy is to prevent it. Better control of blood glucose levels can considerably slow down the development of diabetic retinopathy. There is no definite cure for diabetic retinopathy to restore normal vision but you can slow down the progression of vision loss. Laser photocoagulation is a minimally invasive procedure for preserving vision and reducing the risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.
The Procedure
Your surgeon will give a local anesthetic to numb the surface of your eye and administer eye drops to widen your pupils. Then a special contact lens will be placed on your eye to hold your eyelids open and allow the laser beam to be focused onto your retina. You will see flashes of light throughout the procedure. The laser burns are made on the retina to seal the structurally weak and leaky blood vessels.

The Symptoms
You may need Laser photocoagulation for Diabetic retinopathy if you experience
  • Sudden changes in vision resulting in blurry spotty or hazy vision
  • Double, distorted or fluctuating vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Considerable reduction in night vision
  • Floaters in your field of vision
  • Transparent squiggly lines, threadlike strands or dark rings in the field of vision
  • Moving spots or specks in the field of vision
  • Bleeding in your eyes from a hemorrhage, occurring after sleep
  • Periodic or permanent swelling of the retina
The Eligibility
You are eligible for laser photocoagulation procedure if you have high blood glucose levels over a prolonged period of time and experience multifocal leaks and large detachments.
The Risks Involved
As Laser photocoagulation seals the leaky blood vessels by cauterizing them, it can cause damage to the surrounding healthy tissues. Some may experience dark spots in their field of vision but this should disappear gradually. Poor night vision, a diminishing ability to focus and mild loss of central vision are the risks associated with Laser Photocoagulation. It can also cause severe vision loss, but this is extremely rare.

The Impact
Laser photocoagulation promises very good success rates, but one should be aware that it is not the cure for the diabetic retinopathy nor does it restore lost vision. It simply seals the leaky blood vessels and slows the progression of the diabetic retinopathy. Earlier detection of disease ensures a greater chance of success rate with Laser photocoagulation.

If you have diabetes then it is crucial that you keep your blood sugar and blood pressure levels under check and schedule periodic eye checkups to detect diabetic retinopathy earlier and prevent vision loss. Remember, problems that are detected early are easy to treat successfully!