Retinal laser surgery involves directing a specialised beam of laser light onto the retina. The retina is the thin layer of tissue lining the inner wall of the eye. This type of laser produces a tiny and highly localised thermal burn on the retina, which can seal leaking blood vessels or destroy damaged retinal tissue.
The thermal laser treatment can dry up abnormal bleeding in the retina and vitreous and reduce leakage from damaged capillaries. It can stop blindness by sealing retinal tears to prevent retinal detachment.
Retinal laser surgery is one of the most important available treatments for the prevention of blindness from diabetic retinopathy.
Other conditions that can be treated by thermal laser include:
Indirect laser surgery is simply another mode of delivering thermal laser. The retina specialist uses an indirect ophthalmoscope (an instrument used to view the peripheral part of the retina) to focus the laser light onto the retina.
Indirect laser treatments are most useful for peripheral retinal conditions such as peripheral retinal tear or retinal detachment since this method offers a wider field of view of the retina.