Laser stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” (in case you were interested). Lasers work by amplifying light (or non-visible radiation) of a single wavelength.  This can create a highly controllable beam of energy which can be used to burn, cut, or ablate tissues in the body.  There are many uses for lasers in ophthalmology. The most obvious one is LASIK surgery, where a laser can be used to sculpt the surface of the cornea and fix a person’s glasses prescription.  Lasers are also used for treating after-cataracts, an opacity that can form after cataract surgery.  The retina can be treated with a laser, and microaneurysms and edema from diabetic retinopathy can also be treated with a laser to stop the leakage (see FLT laser for more details).  Retinal detachments can be “tacked down” with laser spots to keep the retina from peeling off further.

Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:


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