Macular edema is treated with laser surgery. This procedure is called focal laser treatment. Dr Hillson places up to several hundred small laser burns in the areas of retinal leakage surrounding the macula. These burns slow the leakage of fluid and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina. The surgery is usually completed in one session. Further treatment may be needed.

A patient may need focal laser surgery more than once to control the leaking fluid. Focal laser treatment stabilizes vision. In fact, focal laser treatment reduces the risk of vision loss by 50 percent. In a small number of cases, if vision is lost, it can be improved. Let Dr Hillson know if you have vision loss. Both focal and scatter laser treatment are performed at the OSMH Outpatient Clinic. Before the surgery, the technician will dilate your pupil and apply drops to numb the eye. The area behind your eye also may be numbed to prevent discomfort.

The lights in the laser room will be dim. As you sit facing the laser machine, Dr Hillson will hold a special lens to your eye. During the procedure, you may see flashes of light. These flashes eventually may create a stinging sensation that can be uncomfortable. You will need someone to drive you home after surgery. Because your pupil will remain dilated for a few hours, you should bring a pair of sunglasses.

For the rest of the day, your vision will probably be a little blurry. Dr Hillson will make arrangement to check the effects of the laser, usually within about six weeks of treatment.