Retina Surgery Q&As

What happens during my surgery?

There are no special preparations before eye laser treatment. You should eat normally and take your regularly prescribed medications before surgery. Retinal laser surgery can be performed either in the surgeons office or the hospital. Eye drops will be given to dilate the pupil and numb the eye. The treatment is performed while you are seated in a chair, similar to the one used for regular eye examinations. You will remain awake and comfortable. Treatment is usually painless, although some patients may require a numbing injection for discomfort or sensitivity to the laser light. The laser treatment usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete, and you can go home immediately following surgery. Arrangements for transportation should be made in advance since you may not be able to drive right away.

What are the restrictions and side effects after laser?

There are virtually no restrictions following retinal laser surgery, and you should be able to resume your normal activities and work schedule the following day. Most patients notice no vision changes following their laser surgery, although there may be some temporary blurring for several weeks to months. In addition, depending on the condition being treated, some may notice a permanent blind spot or decrease in peripheral and night vision.

Will I need more than one laser treatment?

It will take several weeks to months before we can tell whether the laser surgery has been successful. Many patients, however, will need more than one treatment to control their eye problem and prevent further loss of vision.

What is the Lens of the Eye?

The lens is the part of the eye that helps focus light on the retina. The retina is the eye’s light-sensitive layer that sends visual signals to the brain. In a normal eye, light passes through the lens and gets focused on the retina. To help produce a sharp image, the lens must remain clear.

The lens is made mostly of water and protein. The protein is arranged to let light pass through and focus on the retina. Sometimes some of the protein clumps together. This can start to cloud small areas of the lens, blocking some of the light from reaching the retina and interfering with vision. This is a cataract!

In the early stages, a cataract may not cause a problem. The cloudiness may affect only a small part of the lens. However, over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens making it harder to see. As more and more of the lens is affected, less light is able to reach the retina and your vision may become dull and blurry.

Cataracts do not spread from one eye to the other, although many people do develop cataracts in both eyes. Even though researchers continue to learn more about cataracts, no one knows for sure what causes them. Scientists think there may be several causes, including smoking, diabetes, and excessive exposure to light.