Laser can be used to treat many different diseases that affect the retina. The most common is in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, retina vein occlusions, retinal tears and holes. The laser allows the doctor to very precisely place burns where needed to help your eye condition. For instance, in patients with diabetic retinopathy there can be unwanted or leaky abnormal blood vessels that form and the laser is used to burn or cauterize these type of vessels. If left untreated these types of abnormal blood vessels can pose very serious risks to your eye sight.
During your visit you and your doctor will discuss options on how to best treat your eye condition. If performing laser has been decided upon, the laser treatment will be performed, in most instances, in the office. The laser is built in or attached to a slit lamp microscope very similar to one used to exam your eye by the doctor. You will sign a consent to have the procedure performed and your eye will be anesthetized with drops. A protective contact gel is placed on a mirrored lens which is then placed on your eye in order to direct the laser light into your eye and onto the areas of the retina needing treatment.
Generally the treatment is painless, but if you do experience any pain during the procedure let the doctor know immediately and a mild pain medication can be given to you to help.