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Treatment: Laser Surgery for Retinopathy

Laser surgery is used in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy to reduce abnormal blood vessels and prevent new ones from forming. Treatment is usually performed under a local anaesthetic, usually over several sessions. The laser makes tiny burns that destroy parts of the retina, which causes the abnormal blood vessels to regress and prevents new abnormal vessels from developing. Some vision may be lost, but blindness is prevented.

During surgery

A special lens held in front of your eye focuses the laser beam. Treatment is virtually painless, but you will see flashes of light as the laser strikes the retina.

Results of laser treatment

Before laser surgery, new, abnormal blood vessels, which were formed on the surface of the light-sensitive retina, are visible. Following surgery, these abnormal blood vessels have regressed and the outer area of the retina appears much paler.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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