Laser Treatment

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Laser surgery in opthalmology can successfully treat many types of eye diseases.


Which eye diseases can be treated with laser surgery?

Diseases of the Retina

Retinal tears or holes: The retina is the inner layer of the eye that senses light and helps you to see.  If the retina tears, it can separate from the back wall of the eye. This is called a detached retina, and it can cause you to lose sight.  Symptoms of retinal tears include:

  • sudden flashes of light;
  • "floaters" or specks in your vision.


Most retinal tears can be treated with the argon or krypton laser, if they are found before the retina detaches.  The laser helps bond the retina to the wall of the eye, preventing a retinal detachment.

Diabetic retinopathy: Eye disease from diabetes is a major cause of vision loss.  Diabetes can cause blood vessels in the retina to grow abnormally.  The vessels can leak fluid (macular edema) or bleed inside the eye.

Laser surgery to treat diabetic retinopathy

  • seals leaking blood vessels to reduce macular edema, helping to prevent further vision loss;
  • slows or stops growth of abnormal blood vessels, decreasing the chance of bleeding in the eye.


After Cataract Surgery

After a cataract has been removed, the capsule of the lens sometimes becomes cloudy.  The neodymium-YAG laser can open up this cloudy membrane and restore clear vision.



Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve.  This nerve sends images from the eye to our brain and allows us to see.  Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the United States, and the leading cause of legal blindness among African Americans.

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, usually because the fluid pressure inside the eye is too high.  Loss of vision from glaucoma can often be prevented if your opthalmologist discovers the disease before much damage occurs to the optic nerve.

Glaucoma must be detected early if treatment is to be successful.

Eyedrops or pills are the usual way to treat glaucoma.  If they do not control the pressure within the eye, laser surgery may be used to lower the pressure.


Your opthalmologist (Eye M.D.) will discuss the risks and benefits that laser treatment can offer you.