Retinal Laser in the form of photocoagulation is a very commonly performed laser treatment which is done for numerous eye conditions including amongst others diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions and retinal holes. The Argon Laser Retinal Photocoagulation procedure is done as an outpatient procedure in the consultation offices of the ophthalmologist.
The Argon laser is a thermal type of laser and NOT a cutting laser. The procedure is usually done under either topical anesthetic drops only or under a small regional anesthetic injection.
It can be said that the procedure is more uncomfortable than painful.
Depending on the problem present, the laser can be completed in one session of 10-30 minutes, or sometimes more than one session.
The procedure entails a small contact lens placed on the front surface of your eye so as to allow the Ophthalmologist to visualize the retinal areas he needs to laser.
The procedure is seen as very safe with complications very unusual.
Some problems occasionally seen after laser include:
- Transient blurring of vision (3-7 days)
- Transient Raised eye pressure (1-2 days)
- Headache (1 day)
- Transient light sensitivity (1 day)
- Ocular inflammation (3-7 days)
- Loss of visual acuity – extremely rare
- Impairment of accommodation – rarely seen and occasionally permanent
- Poor night vision – usually only if extensive retinal laser (e.g. Diabetic patients) is needed
- Loss of color vision – extremely rare and usually only with central laser not commonly performed any more
- Loss of peripheral visual field – usually only with extensive retinal laser