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Laser treatment

The type of laser treatment used to treat diabetic retinopathy is called photocoagulation. Many people having laser treatment have very little visual impairment. Others who may have early or moderate maculopathy and proliferative retinopathy will also benefit from laser treatment.

Laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy has been the standard of care for more than 30 yrs. Together with effective screening, good blood glucose control and good blood pressure, it can successfully maintain vision.

How does it work?

Tiny laser burns allow more oxygen and nutrients to reach the retina, which improves the blood circulation. This signals that there is no need for 'new vessels' to be produced. You may need more than one treatment as the vessels may start growing again.

What’s the procedure?

  1. You have local anaesthetic and pupil-dilating eye drops put in your eye.

  2. A special contact lens is placed on your eye to hold your eyelids open and allow the laser beam to focus onto your retina

  3. The laser beam is directed at damaged areas of the retina.

  4. Small bursts of tiny beams of laser light then seal leaky blood vessels and destroy abnormal new blood vessels in the retina.

An eye specialist (ophthalmologist) carries out laser treatment and nearly always as an outpatient procedure, allowing you to go home afterwards. A session of treatment can vary in length from person to person. Ask your eye specialist how long your sessions will last and whether you will be expected to come back for more treatment.

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