Laser Retinopexy

What You Need to Know

The purpose of a retinal tear is to prevent the formation of a retinal detachment. Retinal detachments are a much more serious condition which are most commonly fixed in the operating room.

A retinal tear refers to a full thickness hole in the retina. This hole allows fluid to traverse underneath it, lifting up the retina like the wallpaper coming off of a wall.Β 

Laser therapy may be applied around the tear. This creates a very tight adhesion between the retina and back wall of the eye, preventing fluid from detaching the retina.

Laser laser is performed in the office under topical anesthesia. The procedure may be performed with either the slit lamp or with a laser indirect ophthalmoscope (see photo below)

The patient will be asked to look in a particular direction with the other eye and be very careful not to move the eye. The physician then applies laser spots around the retinal tear.Β 

Patients will notice flashes of light and potentially a mild stinging sensation with the laser spot. The procedure generally takes between 5 and 15 minutes.

The vision will be dark followed by different colors for a few minutes after the procedure, but thereafter, the central vision should return to near normal. There may be a slight blurriness, which typically resolves after any remaining gel from the contact lens is rinsed out.

Laser barricade will not cause any decrease in floaters. Very extensive laser may cause a mild decrease in peripheral vision, but nearly all patients have no symptoms.

Laser Retinopexy
Two retinal tears can be seen in the top of the photo. The white spots represent laser treatment.
Retinal Detachment
This retinal tear was not treated prior to the development of a retinal detachment. A pneumatic retinopexy, pars plana vitrectomy, or scleral buckle will be needed.
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