What is an Argon Laser?
A laser is an emitting of light coherent and polarized of a single wavelength that can be focused and aimed using lenses. Laser is the acronym for
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The argon laser was developed in the 1960s. Argon lasers emit light near the ultraviolet wavelength which gives it unique properties useful in treating certain eye diseases. Ocular tissues of color and pigment absorb the laser light resulting in heat production.
Common Uses for Argon Lasers
Pan-Retinal Photocoagulation (PRP) for Certain Retinal Diseases
Pan-retinal photocoagulation is a treatment used in treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy. In treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy hundreds and even thousands of laser spots are applied throughout the retina. The area in the macula is excluded. This laser treatment reduces the retina’s need for oxygen due to the damage from the diabetic retinopathy. The abnormal vessels which develop in proliferative diabetic retinopathy resolve secondary to this treatment. It is also used in a similar manner for branch and central retinal vein occlusions.
Laser Trabeculoplasty for Treating Glaucoma
In open angle glaucoma, small laser applications are placed in the trabecular meshwork. The trabecular meshwork is the portion inside the eye that drains the normal fluid production from the eye. The trabecular meshwork collects material that is now obstructing fluid flow from the eye. This obstruction elevates the intraocular pressure which causes glaucoma damage. A newer laser is now available which is replacing the argon laser for glaucoma treatment.
Focal Laser Treatment to the Macula
In certain diseases that affect the macula such as edema, bleeding, or microaneurysms the argon laser can be used to treat the area in and around the macula. This treatment helps the patient maintain their central vision.
Laser Treatment of Retina Breaks
Tears in the peripheral portion of the retina which occasionally occur can be treated with the argon laser. The tear if left untreated can lead to a retinal detachment. The area around the tear is sealed with the laser applications which seal the tear.