Laser treatment is a modern ophthalmic method that can be used effectively in various eye diseases.
The first light treatment was performed in 1949 at the University Hospital Hamburg with concentrated sunlight. Today, it has greatly advanced into what is known as laser coagulation.
When using laser coagulation with the Argon laser, dye laser or YAG laser, a small well-defined area of the retina is heated. This results in cell death (necrosis) in the area of the retina which is used therapeutically.
Diabetes mellitus known as diabetes, can cause eye damage. It is caused by metabolic disorders related to insulin deficiency (diabetes mellitus) or insulin sensitivity (diabetes mellitus type II) to elevated blood sugar levels that alter the flow of blood, damage and ultimately closing the blood vessels. This leads to unhealthy tissue swelling, edema and insufficient oxygen supply to the affected areas.
An edema on a yellow spot (the macula) can be located which is called macular edema. If the above changes take place on the retina, it is called diabetic retinopathy. Both diseases lead to poorer vision.
In our practice, we perform an intentional retinal destructive treatment with a low energy laser. Since the release of oxygen to the tissues is reduced by diabetes mellitus, this method allows to distribute the available oxygen to the areas of the retina that are absolutely necessary. This laser treatment is performed outpatient and under local anesthesia of the cornea.
The retina converts the image into nerve impulses that are transmitted to the brain.
Because the retina is not attached to the posterior wall, holes in the retina can lead to retinal detachment. The liquid can flow from the interior of the eye under the retina through the holes and at a retinal detachment, the sensory cells die after a few days leading to an impaired vision.
In our practice, the hole edges are scarred with the underlying layer by means of the laser. After several days, these scars are so impervious that no liquid can flow under the retina. Thus, the risk of subsequent retinal detachment is significantly reduced. In the treatment the affected eye is numbed with drops and the pupil expands its ocular surface.
Retinal Hemorrhages following Thrombosis
A closure or a thrombosis in the retina can lead to loss of vision or even blindness. A cause for that can be e.g. thick blood which coagulates and clogs the veins. The used blood can no longer flow through the retinal vein. The result is a clog in the vein. This results in an overpressure leading to bleeding into the retina. Subsequently, the retina does not get oxygen causing temporary or permanent damage. Moreover, vascular growths can be a result from damaged retina which can lead to retinal detachment, glaucoma or bleeding into the vitreous of the eye.
Laser treatment of the peripheral retina reduces the oxygen demand of the retina with the scarring and the unfavorable formation of new vessels usually recede.
Cataract and Artificial Lenses
The deterioration of the original clear lens is called a cataract. The vision is obstructed by a slight veil which becomes more dense with time. In addition, glare sensitivity increases.
Most commonly, cataracts stem from older age starting 60 and in relation to slower metabolism.
The only adjuvant treatment is surgery in which the clouded lens is removed and replaced by an intraocular artificial lens.
In this operation, the natural lens capsule is not removed from the natural lens. Despite successful surgery, the clouding of the eye in the old lens capsule may reappear after months or years. This process is known as a “secondary cataract” which happens in 30% of the cases. We can remove this cataract painlessly using the YAG laser and usually stopping cataract to reappear.
YAG Laser with Glaucoma
If there is a mismatch of intraocular pressure and blood flow to the optic nerve damage to the optic nerve head, visual field defects and blindness can result. In medical terminology this group of eye disease is called glaucoma.
Glaucoma patients who use eye drops to lower the intraocular pressure, only get temporary relief. However, our laser treatment provides more permanent help.
Through YAG iridectomy a small opening in the iris is created by laser burns resulting in a better circulation of the chamber waters.
The treatment is performed under local anesthesia in the affected eye.