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Retinal laser coagulation is a therapeutic procedure that can be used to treat various retinal diseases of the eye. Due to the local heat development during the irradiation of pathologically changed areas of the retina by a high-energy laser, leaking blood vessels or small retinal holes can be closed. Thus, laser coagulation can prevent a progression of certain retinal diseases.
The medical effects of laser coagulation can be used in ophthalmology in various ways. The major conditions treated by laser photocoagulation include retinal holes or degeneration, macular edema, macular degeneration, and various forms of retinopathy (a retinal disease caused by the metabolic disease, diabetes mellitus).
Depending on the clinical picture, different variants of laser coagulation can be used. From a targeted to individual retinal areas directed laser photocoagulation distinguishes the lattice orientation of the so-called grid laser photocoagulation. This is mainly used when disease foci merge into each other and therefore no locally delineated treatment areas can be defined. If retinal changes occur only locally, grid laser coagulation is usually not necessary.
Different lasers can be used in this process. However, laser coagulation is predominantly carried out with a so-called argon laser, which emits green-blue laser beams. In addition, infrared, dye or krypton lasers are suitable for the treatment.
The laser coagulation is carried out by means of a so-called slit lamp, which is connected to the laser device. On the eye to be treated, a cornea contact lens (a special magnifying glass) is placed in the seated patient. Now laser beams are emitted, which lead to a local tissue destruction. Subsequent scarring of the treated retinal areas connects them to underlying tissue structures. Often, several consecutive sessions are necessary for a satisfactory outcome.
The extent of treatment depends primarily on the findings of the affected patient. In the case of a patient, for example, if there is a risk of a detaching cornea, the treating physician usually sets relatively large-area laser points in the context of laser coagulation of the retina of the eye.