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Specialists in the Field of Retina Lasing
Information About the Field of Retina Lasing
What Is Laser Coagulation?
Laser coagulation is a medical procedure used primarily in ophthalmology. Through thermal treatment, the intentional death of most minor tissue areas is caused to achieve targeted scarring of the specific regions. As a result, the laser procedure can obliterate vessels, close retinal tears, and prevent possible fluid leakage. This can, for example, avoid the threat of retinal detachment .
Which Diseases Can Be Treated with Laser Coagulation?
Mainly retinal diseases are treated with the laser. These include retinal substance defects, i.e., tiny tears and holes in the retina and disturbing new blood vessel formations within the retina. Macular defects, i.e., disorders and degeneration at the point of sharpest vision, can also be treated by coagulation.
If a small clot causes occlusion of the central vein in the eye, the venous blood can no longer drain off adequately. This so-called central vein occlusion leads to swelling, which affects the retina and the point of sharpest vision. In addition, the retina's vascular changes and circulatory disorders are seen in diabetic retinopathy due to long-term altered sugar metabolism and in retinopathy of prematurity due to immaturity at birth.
These changes and damages can be treated with the help of laser coagulation. However, the laser procedure can also be used in other particular fields, including, for example, skin laser treatments in dermatology and urological procedures on the prostate and bladder.
Who Can Benefit from the Procedure?
To use the laser on the eye and carry out a successful treatment, an unobstructed access path is essential. This means the lens, cornea, and vitreous must be clear so that the retina behind them can be reached and treated with the laser.
A patient with a lens opacity, the so-called cataract or colloquially cataract, cannot be treated with laser therapy. For example, in this case, a cold treatment, cryotherapy can be used. In general, it should be weighed up whether the procedure represents an added value for the patient. In the case of milder retinal impairment, it is often possible to wait at first, whereas patients with advanced damage benefit from laser treatment.
Laser Coagulation Procedure
First, detailed examinations are carried out to determine whether laser therapy is an option for the patient. This includes eye tests, retinal examinations, and relevant exclusion of a cataract.
Laser coagulation is carried out in an outpatient setting in a sitting or lying position. Therefore, inpatient treatment is usually not necessary. The patient receives eye drops for local anesthesia and drops to dilate the pupil. After anesthesia has set in, a contact glass is placed on the eye to be treated. This enables targeted monitoring of the laser beam. Subsequent use of the laser is very brief, and the laser pulses can be perceived like flashes of light. After the treatment, patients can perceive dots or spots on the retina for a while.
Rules to Follow After Laser Coagulation
After laser coagulation, patients should avoid excessive physical exertion; light activities and everyday tasks can typically be performed immediately. Driving a car is prohibited for about 24 hours after treatment. Ointments or eye drops may be prescribed to support the eye and minimize the risk of infection. Likewise, the eye should be protected from sunlight and wind with sunglasses. In addition, no sports should be done for about two weeks, and patients should be careful not to press or rub the treated eye. Caution is also advised when washing your hair; no shampoo should get into the affected eye. Appointments are made for follow-up examinations.
Risks and Chances of Recovery
Every surgical procedure carries a basic risk, including bleeding and infection risks. Nevertheless, the risk with laser coagulation is extremely low. Therefore, the outpatient procedure is considered very safe and minor. However, due to laser coagulation, visual disturbances or limitations of the visual field may occur, which is why it is essential to assess the necessity and benefit of the treatment in advance based on the severity of the retinal defect.
Patients with pronounced retinal damage or impending retinal detachment will benefit from laser intervention. If diseased areas can be scarred with laser treatment, the remaining retinal areas have a greater chance of remaining healthy so that vision does not deteriorate further. Laser coagulation for incipient retinal detachment, in particular, can save patients from losing their vision.
Which Doctors and Clinics Are Specialized?
Ophthalmologists carry out the examinations and advise patients on treatment options. Outpatient laser surgery is performed by specialized retina specialists or in retina clinics .
We will help you find an expert for your condition. All listed doctors and clinics have been reviewed by us for their outstanding specialization in retinal lasering and are awaiting your inquiry or treatment request.
- Checkliste Augenheilkunde. Burk A, Burk R, Hrsg. 6., vollständig überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Stuttgart: Thieme; 2018. doi:10.1055/b-006-160380
- Atlas des Augenhintergrundes. Kellner U, Heimann H, Wachtlin J, Lommatzsch A, Hrsg. 2., vollständig überarbeitete Auflage. Stuttgart: Thieme; 2020. doi:10.1055/b-004-132232
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