Your condition

The retina is a layer at the back of the eye that is responsible for vision. With conditions like diabetic retinopathy your retina may go through a series of changes. These may include leakage or closure of blood vessels. These changes may progress in severity leading to reduced vision.

Leaking blood vessels and closed blood vessels

What does the laser do and how does it work?

This type of laser treatment is performed using a thermal laser. Focal laser is targeted at specific areas of the retina to seal up leaking blood vessels. The amount of laser burns to the retina varies, depending upon the severity of your retinopathy.

Focal Laser and Laser beam through the eye
Focal Laser and Laser beam through the eye aiming at diabetic retinopathy on the macula.

What to expect

  • You will be in the hospital for at least 2 hours.
  • You will be given drops to enlarge your pupil, so you will be unable to drive home.
  • Local anaesthetic drops will also be put in your eye before the procedure.
  • Treatment is delivered through a lens which rests against the eye.
  • Please take all of your usual medications prior to your appointment, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
  • If you have diabetes please ensure you have your normal meals and bring snacks for while you wait.
  • Side effects may include slight discomfort and sensitivity to light (photophobia). Wearing sunglasses (with your prescription, if required) can make the trip home more comfortable.
  • Please arrange for someone to pick you up and drive/take you home.

More information

The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
Phone: 03 9929 8666

Diabetes Australia – Victoria
Phone: 03 9667 1777


Disclaimer This document describes the generally accepted practice at the time of publication only. It is only a summary of clinical knowledge regarding this area. The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital makes no warranty, express or implied, that the information contained in this document is comprehensive. They accept no responsibility for any consequence arising from inappropriate application of this information.

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  • Focal Laser Treatment #158
  • Owner: Laser
  • Last Reviewed: February 3, 2023
  • Next Review: February 2, 2028