Kenneth O. Sparks, M.D.
Vitreo-Retinal Surgery & Ophthalmology

Appointments online or call 323-655-8036
Services & Treatments


Retinal Laser Treatment

Certain retinal conditions can be treated with laser. The laser is a highly concentrated light that is beamed into the eye and on the retina to treat the affected area. It is essentially a painless procedure, lasting about 10-30 minutes, most commonly done in an office or outpatient setting. Occasionally more than one treatment is necessary. Although the goal of laser treatment is to stabilize and prevent further loss of vision, there are situations in which vision can actually be improved. After the laser treatment, additional studies may be needed to monitor the response to and effectiveness of the therapy.

Lasers are commonly used in the following conditions:

Diabetic Retinopathy- Patients with diabetic retinopathy have damaged small vessels in the retina which leak fluid and blood, causing the retina to swell. These changes decrease vision if the macula is affected. A laser may be used in order to seal these leaks. However, laser is done to stabilize and prevent further loss of vision and will often not restore vision that has already been lost. In severe cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy where new, abnormal blood vessels have grown, more than one session of laser treatment is usually needed. This is called pan retinal photocoagulation and is highly effective in preventing severe visual loss due to diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal tears and holes- When a tear or hole occurs in the retina, without full detachment, laser treatment is done in order to seal the holes or tears. Laser treatment in this setting may prevent retinal detachment from occurring.

Age Related Macular Degeneration- Wet AMD was historically treated with laser to close the choroidal neovascular membranes and lessen the chance for visual loss. Newer treatments with injectable drugs have proven more effective so that the laser is now only rarely used for this condition.

Other Retinal vascular disorders- CRVO, BRVO, and retinal macroaneruysms are among multiple retinal vascular disorders that in certain instances are treated with laser. The laser can help repair damage and prevent blindness and, along with other modalities, remains a useful adjunct in managing retinal disease.
Macular Degeneration
Age-related Macular degeneration (AMD) typically affects older adults.
Uveitis refers to the inflammation of the uvea. It also may refer to any type of inflammation to the interior of the eye and not just the uvea.
Diabetic Retinopathy
High blood-sugar levels can damage retinal blood vessels in the back of the eye.
Glaucoma Treatment
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve.