Panretinal Photocoagulation (PRP)

Panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) is a laser procedure performed in clinic. It is commonly done under local anaesthetic and can take 10-20 minutes per eye.

Panretinal Photocoagulation (PRP)

Panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) is a laser procedure performed in clinic. It is commonly done under local anaesthetic and can take 10-20 minutes per eye.

Why is it performed?

PRP is typically performed to treat areas of the retina that are starved of oxygen. The laser helps reduce the retina’s need for oxygen. By doing this, PRP can reduce the likelihood of bleeding within the eye and retinal detachment, both of which can cause visual loss. Common conditions that are treated with panretinal photocoagulation are diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion and ocular ischaemic syndrome.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

PRP is done in clinic. After signing a consent form and marking the eye, anaesthetic drops are instilled into the eye. The procedure can be sore so some patients prefer to take 2 tablets of paracetamol an hour beforehand. Once in the laser room, the door is locked for safety reasons. A friend or relative may accompany the patient but will need to wear safety googles. A special contact lens is placed on the eye then the laser applied in a slow and steady way. Patients can have regular breaks during the procedure if they choose. If the entire retina needs to be treated, this is typically done over 2 sessions for patient comfort and to reduce any complications.

Panretinal photocoagulation is safe and effective. Without it, many patients have a significant risk of visual loss. Unfortunately, some patients can lose vision from bleeding or retinal detachment despite PRP. Many patients will need to have further laser in future to control their eye disease. Rarer risks include loss of vision from laser treatment direct to the centre of the retina.

Intravitreal injection treatment (IVT), where injections are given directly into the jelly of the eye, can be very effective in controlling some of the eye diseases mentioned above. However, they only control disease whilst they are being given and do not provide a long-term treatment. For this reason, panretinal photocoagulation is considered a more definitive solution.