Medical Lasers | Fairbanks, AK

Eye Laser Treatment

Panretinal photocoagulation treatment for diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy, is retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels of the retina) caused by diabetes – both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina. In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is treated with panretinal photocoagulation, also called scatter laser treatment. This procedure helps to shrink the abnormal blood vessels by placing 1,000 to 2,000 laser burns in the areas of the retina away from the macula, causing the abnormal blood vessels to shrink. Because a high number of laser burns are necessary, two or more sessions usually are required to complete treatment. Although a patient may notice some loss of their side vision, scatter laser treatment can save the rest of their sight. Scatter laser treatment may slightly reduce color vision and night vision. Scatter laser treatment works better before the fragile, new blood vessels have started to bleed. That is why it is important to have regular, comprehensive dilated eye exams. Even if bleeding has started, scatter laser treatment may still be possible, depending on the amount of bleeding.

Focal grid laser for diabetic macula edema

Blood vessels damaged from diabetic retinopathy can also cause vision loss when fluid leaks into the center of the macula, the part of the eye where sharp, straight-ahead vision occurs. The fluid makes the macula swell, blurring vision. This condition is called macular edema. It can occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to occur as the disease progresses. About half of the people with proliferative retinopathy also have macular edema. Diabetic macular edema is treated with focal laser treatment that places up to several hundred small laser burns in the areas of retinal leakage surrounding the macula. These burns slow the leakage of fluid and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina. The surgery is usually completed in one session. Further treatment may be needed. A patient may need focal laser surgery in Fairbanks more than once to control the leaking fluid. If macular edema is present in both eyes and both require laser surgery, generally only one eye will be treated at a time, usually several weeks apart. Focal laser treatment stabilizes vision. In fact, focal laser treatment reduces the risk of vision loss by 50 percent. In a small number of cases, if vision is lost, it can be improved.

YAG capsulotomy for posterior capsule opacification

During a cataract operation, the cloudy lens is replaced with a clear, artificial lens. However, in some cases, a hazy membrane can form just behind the intraocular lens implant. This is known as posterior capsule opacity, and is very easily treated with YAG laser capsulotomy. YAG laser capsulotomy is used to remove the haziness, and restore normal vision by making small holes in the posterior lens capsule of the crystalline. This hole allows light to pass through and restore normal vision. It is a fast, painless and very effective treatment. It usually is a quick outpatient procedure.

Laser peripheral iridotomy for treatment of acute angle-closure glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. In acute angle-closure glaucoma, the fluid at the front of the eye cannot drain through the angle and leave the eye. The angle gets blocked by part of the iris. People with this type of glaucoma may have a sudden increase in eye pressure. Symptoms include severe pain and nausea, as well as redness of the eye and blurred vision. If you have these symptoms, you need to seek treatment immediately. This is a medical emergency. Without treatment to restore the flow of fluid, the eye can become blind. Laser peripheral iridotomy surgery can clear the blockage, lower eye pressure, and protect vision. A laser is used to make a small opening in the peripheral iris, changing the fluid dynamics in the eye and "opening" the angle.

Selective laser trabeculoplasty for glaucoma treatment

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. It is the progressive damage to the optic nerve due to the pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure) being too high. Treatments for glaucoma are aimed at lowering the eye pressure. Selective laser trabeculoplasty helps fluid drain out of the eye and relieve pressure. Before the treatment, numbing drops are applied before a high-intensity beam of light is aimed through the lens and reflected onto the meshwork inside the eye. The laser makes several evenly spaced burns that stretch the drainage holes in the meshwork. This allows the fluid to drain better. Selective laser trabeculoplasty is most commonly used in open angle glaucoma. If a patient has glaucoma in both of their eyes, usually only one eye will be treated at a time. Laser treatments for each eye will be scheduled several days to several weeks apart. Laser trabeculoplasty is performed in our Fairbanks eye clinic and can be repeated if necessary.