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Focal laser is a type of laser treatment used for macular edema, which can occur in association with various conditions of the retina, including diabetic retinopathy and retinal vascular occlusions. Because such conditions damage the small blood vessels of the retina, those blood vessels can leak, leading to fluid accumulation and swelling in the macula. Using fluorescein angiography (a blood flow study using an intravenous dye), the sites of leakage can be located by your doctor. Laser treatment is then custom-tailored to your retina and applied to the sites of leakage.
Before your procedure, the doctor will perform a dilated retina examination. Then, you will be seated comfortably in the procedure room and anesthetic eye drops will be placed in your eye. The laser will be performed with you sitting upright at the slitlamp. A typical laser treatment is performed in 5 to 10 minutes and the experience is similar to a dilated eye examination. You will notice bright lights but typically feel nothing. Immediately after the laser, your vision out of the treated eye will be dim and hazy for about 5 minutes. Then it will return to your pre-treatment level of vision. You will not need to wear a patch after the laser. If you experience a slight headache after your procedure, that can be normal and you may take Tylenol for it.
Your doctor will discuss all of the above with you and review additional information and precautions before and after your treatment. Our goal is to have all of your questions answered, so please feel free to ask our doctors and staff about any questions or concerns you may have.