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Retinal Lasers

What is retinal laser treatment?

Retinal laser treatment is a modality of treatment where a special type of laser is applied to the retina. It is used for a wide range of retinal diseases. There are different types of laser treatment depending on the retinal condition.

  1. Panretinal photocoagulation (PRP)
  2. Focal laser treatment
  3. Sector laser treatment
  4. Laser for retinal tears or holes (called Retinopexy)

Pan-retinal photocoagulation (PRP)

Pan-retinal photocoagulation or PRP is a form of laser treatment for the retina. It is used to treat conditions where the retina is severely damaged with significant ischaemia (damage to the blood supply of the retina due to blockage of the blood vessels).

In these conditions,  the ischaemic retina may secrete some materials that can lead to the development of an abnormal proliferation of blood vessels, often called “neovascularization.”.  These abnormal blood vessels, or “neovascularization,” are fragile and can bleed easily or cause further damage to the eye.

This type of laser treatment aims to treat these areas of retinal damage. This would help to stop the proliferation of new blood vessels and prevent further damage. This laser modality is used in conditions such as:

Focal laser treatment

Focal laser is used to selectively target areas of the damaged retina or leaking blood vessels. A few laser shots are applied to the damaged retina.

This laser treatment is commonly used for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema or some retinal lesions.

Sector laser treatment

Some retinal diseases can affect only a sector of the retina, such as branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO).

The damaged retinal sector may release some materials that can lead to the proliferation of new blood vessels. These new blood vessels are fragile and can easily bleed into the gel of the eye (vitreous). The laser is applied to the damaged retina to prevent further complications.

Laser for retinal tears (Retinopexy)

The laser is used to seal retinal holes or tears. This is called retinopexy.

The laser is applied all around the hole or tear to seal it. This would help to prevent the hole or tear from progressing to a retinal detachment.