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Lasers in Ophthalmology

LASER is short for Light Amplified Stimulated Emission of Radiations.

Types of Lasers used in Ophthalmology

  1. Argon Laser
  2. Diode Laser
  3. YAG Laser
  4. Excimer Laser

What do Lasers do?

Laser rays have energy. When they hit the target, they transmit that energy to the target. Heat is also given out. The effects in the eye are a combination of the Laser and heat energy.

Some Lasers are used to create holes, e.g. YAG Laser Iridotomy in Glaucoma.

The Excimer Laser has cutting power, used in LASIK.

The Argon and Diode Lasers are used to create burns that treat Retinal tears and Diabetic Retinopathy (DMR).

Use of Laser in Ophthalmology

Lasers have been used widely in treatment of eye diseases. Such as,

  1. Eyelid growths, including lid cancers
  2. Trichiasis (Misdirected eye lashes)
  3. Open up or block Lacrimal Punctum
  4. Pterygium (Conjunctival degeneration)
  5. To alter corneal curvature and correct refractive errors as in PRK, LASIK etc. 
  6. Glaucoma (Increased eye pressure)
  7. To open opacified posterior capsule, about 6 months after cataract surgery
  8. In closing Retinal tears in treatment and prevention of RD.
  9. In Diabetic Retinopathy (DMR)
  10. For treatment of tumors like Retinoblastoma.


There are a  lot of misconceptions about Laser use in Ophthalmology. 

  1. Cataract Surgery is done with Laser.
 No. After cataract surgery, sometimes an 'after-cataract' develops due to posterior capsular opacification. This is treated with Laser.

About Cataract surgery

  1. Laser is used for curing Myopia or short-sightedness.

No. Laser can only flatten the corneal curvature. Due to this the focus of an image comes on the retina, so the refractive error is treated. But it is very crucial to remember that, the retinal and other changes associated with Myopia continue, so in a real sense Myopia is not cured. 

About Myopia

  1. Laser used for treatment of Diabetics causes painful burns.

No. Laser causes burns on the retina. These burns are different from skin burns, which we are more familiar with. They are not painful.  

About Diabetes

  1. During Laser you hear loud explosive sounds.

During Laser you do hear sounds, but they are more of clicking type, rather than explosive variety.

  1. Laser is always a quick cure for all eye diseases.

No. Some disease can be controlled by Laser, but there is still vast role for medical and actual surgical treatment.




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