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Printed at: 06:39:56 / 23-09-2021

Macular Laser Treatment

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What is macular treatment?

Macular treatment is laser treatment to the macula, which is the central part of the retina at the back of the eye, directly opposite the pupil. The macula is the part you use to see fine detail and to
read.

Why do I need to have treatment?
Diabetes can cause leakage of fluid from the small blood vessels (capillaries) of the retina, onto the macula. If the macula becomes waterlogged your reading vision will be lost. The leakage can be seen by the eye specialist before it is bad enough for you to notice any problems with your sight, and the best time for treatment is before the vision has been affected.

Laser treatment is very effective but it cannot guarantee a cure. If vision is already reduced further sight loss may be prevented. Treatment preserves the vision but is unlikely to restore sight once it has been lost.

How does the treatment work?
The laser burns seal off the leaking areas and improve the drainage of fluid so that the retina can gradually dry out. This process can take several months.

How is the treatment given?
Laser treatment is an Outpatient procedure. Your pupils are first dilated with eye drops, which take about half an hour to work. You sit upright in front of the laser. You keep your head still on the
headrest and look at a bull’s eye target. You must try not to look at the red or green light which guides the laser beam into your eye. Local anaesthetic drops may be put in your eye first if a contact lens is used to focus the laser beam. Up to 100 laser shots are given but the treatment only takes a few minutes.

Does it hurt?
No. Macular treatment is painless. With some types of laser you will see a bright flash with each shot but with infra-red lasers the flash is invisible.

Are there any side effects?
There may be some temporary blurring of vision. If a laser shot accidentally hits the centre of the macula, the burn could permanently damage your sight. This happens if you look at the red or green light just as a shot is being fired and is very unlikely as long as you keep looking at the bull’s eye target. If a contact lens is used, a corneal abrasion may occur. This is rare, but if it happens your eye will become very sore and you should contact your doctor who may send you to the hospital for treatment.

How soon can I go home?
You can go home straight after the treatment. You should allow an hour after your appointment time.

Are there any special precautions?
You should have your usual meals and medication. You should not drive until the effect of the dilating drops has worn off. You can do all your normal activities. You cannot harm your eyes by reading or watching television.

Will I have to come back for another appointment?
The doctor will need to see you 2 to 3 months after the treatment to assess the effect. Sometimes more treatment will be required. Even if the leakage has cleared completely you will need to return for regular checks, as you may get further diabetic damage.

Any questions?
Why not write them down in the space below and ask any member of staff when you come.

Cancellation of appointment
If you are unable to keep your appointment please let us know in good time so that we can use it for someone else. Telephone 01908 997001.