The type of laser treatment used to treat diabetic retinopathy is called photocoagulation. Many people having laser treatment have very little visual impairment. Others who may have early or moderate maculopathy and proliferative retinopathy will also benefit from diabetic retinopathy laser treatment. Laser treatment has revolutionised retinopathy treatment. Together with effective screening, good blood glucose control and good blood pressure, it can successfully maintain vision. Tiny laser burns allow more oxygen and nutrients to reach the retina, which improves the blood circulation. This signals that there is no need for 'new vessels' to be produced. Diabetic retinopathy treatment usually requires specific treatment when it reaches an advanced stage and there's a risk to your vision. An ophthalmologist carries out laser treatment as an outpatient procedure, allowing you to go home afterwards. A session of treatment can vary in length from person to person. Therefore laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy is usually carried out in a darkened room in a clinic. Anaesthetic drops are dropped into your eye, a contact lens is placed on your eye, and you have to sit at a laser slit lamp. This is the same machine that is used for the regular examination, but a laser has been added on. It is naturally uncomfortable having to keep still whilst a doctor flashes a very bright light into the eye. As a local anaesthetic is used, laser treatment is not painful for most people, although a few will experience some discomfort.
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