Non-scarring laser treatment for diabetic eye disease found to be effective

Scientists have compared the performance of subthreshold micropulse laser with standard laser treatment for diabetic macular oedema

Testing blood levels on finger
Pixabay/Tesa Robbins

A new study published in Ophthalmology has compared treatment with a subthreshold micropulse laser to standard laser treatment for diabetic macular oedema (DMO)

Patients with mild DMO can receive laser treatment rather than anti-VEGF therapy. The standard laser treatment results in a burn or scar on the retina, but a subthreshold micropulse laser can be performed without leaving a mark on the retina.

Researchers found that the subthreshold micropulse laser performed at an equivalent level to the standard laser treatment in preserving patient vision.

A slightly greater number of subthreshold micropulse laser treatments was required when compared to standard laser treatment.

Study author, Professor Noemi Lois, of Queens University Belfast, noted that some healthcare professionals had previously doubted the effectiveness of subthreshold micropulse laser treatment because of a lack of scarring.

“However, our research addressed this by demonstrating that subthreshold micropulse laser is as good as standard threshold laser for helping people’s vision, reducing macula thickness, allowing people to meet driving standards, and maintaining their quality of life,” she said.

The trial involved 266 patients across 16 NHS hospitals throughout the UK, with half receiving standard threshold laser and the other half receiving subthreshold micropulse laser.