Laser photocoagulation
Laser coagulation or laser photocoagulation surgery is used to treat a number of eye diseases and has become widely used in recent decades. During the procedure, which is usually performed on an outpatient basis, a laser
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of photons. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation...

 is used to finely cauterize
The medical practice or technique of cauterization is the burning of part of a body to remove or close off a part of it in a process called cautery, which destroys some tissue, in an attempt to mitigate damage, remove an undesired growth, or minimize other potential medical harmful possibilities...

 ocular blood vessels to attempt to bring about various therapeutic benefits.

The surgery is used in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is retinopathy caused by complications of diabetes mellitus, which can eventually lead to blindness....

 and age related macular degeneration, having been proven to lower the risk of severe vision loss from these diseases, which are the two leading causes of blindness in the United States. Other eye diseases it is used to treat include retinal ischemia
In medicine, ischemia is a restriction in blood supply, generally due to factors in the blood vessels, with resultant damage or dysfunction of tissue. It may also be spelled ischaemia or ischæmia...

, neovascularization
Neovascularization is the formation of functional microvascular networks with red blood cell perfusion. Neovascularization differs from angiogenesis in that angiogenesis is mainly characterized by the protrusion and outgrowth of capillary buds and sprouts from pre-existing blood vessels.In...

 of the choroid
The choroid, also known as the choroidea or choroid coat, is the vascular layer of the eye, containing connective tissue, and lying between the retina and the sclera. The human choroid is thickest at the far extreme rear of the eye , while in the outlying areas it narrows to 0.1 mm...

 or retina
The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

, glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye disorder in which the optic nerve suffers damage, permanently damaging vision in the affected eye and progressing to complete blindness if untreated. It is often, but not always, associated with increased pressure of the fluid in the eye...

, and a complication of cataract
A cataract is a clouding that develops in the crystalline lens of the eye or in its envelope, varying in degree from slight to complete opacity and obstructing the passage of light...

 surgery known as posterior capsular opacification.

Side effects and complications of laser photocoagulation are not infrequent although they are rarely severe. They include loss of peripheral vision, worsening visual acuity, reduced night vision, and hemorrhaging in the eye.
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