Laser photocoagulation

The aim is to induce regression of new vessels and sometimes to seal leaking new vessels. It is also used to treat maculopathy. Laser treatment prevents severe visual impairment in the majority of patients although the results for maculopathy are less predictable because treatment is close to the macula. Patients should understand that laser treatment may not improve vision but it should stop major deterioration. The treatment is usually given in one or more 30-60 minute sessions as an out-patient. Local anaesthetic and dilating eye drops are used and the patient just has to remain still and concentrate while the treatment is given. Afterwards there is blurring of vision, photophobia, and sometimes eye discomfort or headache. Patients who complain of severe pain should be referred to the eye casualty service.

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