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What is Macular Laser for Macular Edema?

Laser photo-coagulation is the standard treatment for macular edema that is caused as a complication of diabetes or retinal vein occlusion. The goal of the surgery is to reduce the swelling in the macula. The aim of laser surgery for macular edema is to prevent fluid retention in the macula and thereby preserve reading vision.

Procedure of Macular Laser for Macular Edema

Laser surgery is performed under local anesthesia and eye drops are instilled to dilate the pupil, after which the doctor focuses the laser beam onto the small spots containing leaking blood vessels in the retina. This procedure uses heat from the laser to destroy the target area and create a scar (tiny burn), which slows down the leakage of fluid and reduces the swelling. The number of laser burns applied varies from a few to 200 in the areas of leakage. The procedure is generally completed in a single session, but if both eyes require treatment, a second session is scheduled after a few weeks.

Post-surgery, the vision away from the center may be reduced and some patients may notice small dots in their vision or poorer vision in the dark. Laser surgery takes about 3-6 months for the full effect of the surgery to be seen. The macular laser does not improve your vision but aims to stabilize and prevent the worsening of vision.

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