Laser Photocoagulation for Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive disease which causes a loss of your central field of vision.

Laser therapy can effectively slow the effects of wet AMD, which is characterized by the abnormal growth of blood vessels.

Why should I consider laser photocoagulation?

Side view of eyeball with pull-out illustration of a laser operating on the retina

A Precise Treatment to Protect Your Vision

Minimize Vision Loss

Although treatment cannot restore lost vision to AMD, it can help to slow further damage.

Precise Treatment

Lasers can be used to precisely target even very small, abnormal blood vessels.

Evolving Technologies

More advanced tools, such as nanosecond lasers, are even more effective at preserving healthy tissue than earlier methods.

What portion of the eye is treated?

Illustration of eye affected by AMD

How could AMD affect my vision over time?

Normal vision vs. vision affected by macular degeneration

Does Laser Photocoagulation Hurt?

Many patients understandably become anxious at the thought of surgery performed on their eye. Correctly performed by a trained medical professional, laser photocoagulation is very safe. It is an outpatient procedure, so you can expect to return home the same day. Your doctor will numb the eye using medicated drops and an injection of local anesthetic, so the surgery itself is completely painless. If you are still worried about having trouble relaxing, ask your doctor whether sedation is available.

Show me what happens during the procedure...

A Simple & Minimally Invasive Treatment

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The doctor will first numb and dilate the eye. 

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You will rest your forehead and chin in a slit lamp, a tool used to clearly view the retina.

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A special contact lens will be inserted. This helps the laser focus more effectively. 

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The laser will be used to seal off leaking blood vessels at the back of the eye. You might see bright flashes of light.

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A dressing may be applied to protect the eye after treatment. Your vision will be blurry so you will need to have a loved one drive you home.

Do I really need laser treatment?

Your Doctor May Recommend Alternatives

There are alternatives to treat AMD and depending on your case, your doctor might not recommend laser photocoagulation. Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) therapy is particularly effective. These injections stop the formation of abnormal blood vessels. Photodynamic therapy also relies on a laser to seal leaking blood vessels but unlike laser photocoagulation, involves injections of a medication. Healthy lifestyle changes have been shown to slow vision loss, as well, so avoid smoking, protect your eyes from UV light, exercise, and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Speak with Your Doctor

AMD can have damaging and permanent effects so it is imperative that you seek professional treatment. Whether you have been diagnosed or are simply due for an eye exam, speak with an eye doctor today.

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