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Curr Eye Res. 2009 Jul;34(7):568-79.

Structural changes of the retina after conventional laser photocoagulation and selective retina treatment (SRT) in spectral domain OCT.

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University Eye Hospital, Regensburg, Germany.



Spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) in patients can deliver retinal cross-sectional images with high resolution. This may allow the evaluation of the extent of damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and the neurosensory retina after laser treatment. This article aims to investigate the value of SD-OCT in comparing laser lesions produced by conventional laser photocoagulation and selective retina treatment (SRT).


In a retrospective study, conventional retinal laser (CRL) lesions and SRT laser lesions were evaluated with SD-OCT. One hundred seventy-five CRL lesions were investigated in 10 patients with diabetic maculopathy at timepoints between 1 hr and 4 years after treatment. Ninety-one SRT lesions were examined in 9 patients with central serous retinopathy, geographic atrophy, and diabetic maculopathy at timepoints between 1 hr and 2 years. CRL lesions were applied with an ophthalmoscopically slightly grayish-white appearance (Nd:YAG laser at 532-nm wavelength; power 100-200 mW; retinal spot diameter 100 microm; pulse duration 100 ms). SRT lesions were applied with a Nd:YLF (527 nm; pulse duration 200 ns [30 pulses at 100 Hz]; energy 100-200 microJ/pulse; retinal spot diameter 200 microm) and were visible only angiographically.


All CRL lesions were characterized by high reflectivity in OCT images throughout the full thickness of the neurosensory tissue 1 hr after irradiation, suggesting complete neurosensory coagulation. Strong contraction through the full thickness of the neurosensory layers was observed within 7 days after treatment. In contrast, the neural retina appeared unaffected after SRT. For both lesion types, the RPE layer appeared to be regular or thinner immediately after treatment, whereas within a period of 4 weeks, a RPE thickening indicating RPE proliferation was observable. One year and later after treatment, CRL lesions were characterized by RPE atrophy combined with significant damage of the neurosensory tissue. SRT lesions aged one year and older revealed unaffected neurosensory structures and an intact RPE layer.


Spectral domain OCT can be used clinically to follow the development of laser-induced lesions over time. Postoperative RPE proliferation was observed in both CRL and SRT laser lesions. RPE atrophy appeared subsequently only in CRL lesions, whereas the neurosensory retina appeared unaffected following SRT. These results suggest the selective effect of SRT in humans without causing adverse effects to the neurosensory retina.

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