If you suffer from diabetic retinopathy, a procedure called laser photocoagulation may be right for you. This treatment utilizes laser technology to seal or eliminate the abnormal, leaking blood vessels on your retina that are caused by diabetes. There are several approaches your doctor may use:
- Focal photocoagulation targets a limited number of specific blood vessels that your doctor identifies for treatment.
- Scatter, or pan-retinal photocoagulation treats a larger number of blood vessels over a wider area of your retina. This procedure may also require several treatment sessions in order to be effective.
Laser photocoagulation treatment is usually not painful, though the anesthetic injection may be briefly uncomfortable. Some patients report feeling slight stinging sensations or seeing flashes of light during the procedure. This is completely normal.
An outpatient procedure, laser photocoagulation first utilizes dilating eyedrops to widen your pupils before treatment. These effects will linger for several hours afterward, so sunglasses are recommended. During treatment, a topical (or local) anesthetic is administered. This only affects your eye(s). A hospital stay isn’t required, however you will need a friend or family member to drive you home.