The Retina Centers of Washington

  Contact : (301) 279-9123 , Fax: (301) 279-6828

Information about Laser Surgery

A laser is a very focused beam of light that is used to treat a variety of eye disorders. The term LASER is actually an acronym coined from Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Some of the uses for lasers in ophthalmology are (i) to reshape cornea to reduce nearsightedness or astigmatism (LASIK), (ii) to treat glaucoma (both laser trabeculoplasty and peripheral iridotomy), and (iii) to treat posterior capsule opacification after previous cataract surgery (YAG laser capsulotomy).

Laser treatment has revolutionized the treatment of a number of retinal disorders including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and retinal tears among others. For individuals with diabetes, laser treatment can significantly reduce the risk of visual loss both from leaking blood vessels causing retinal swelling, and from abnormal blood vessel growth (neovascularization). For patients with macular degeneration, laser treatment can eradicate abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina (choroidal neovascularization) and thus reduce the risk of visual loss. Finally, laser treatment around retinal tears significantly reduces the chance of a retinal detachment occurring.

Laser treatment is almost always performed as an out-patient procedure. The patient sits comfortably on one side of the slit lamp (the microscope used to examine the eyes) while the treating physician is on the other side. Usually, a contact lens is placed on the eye to focus the laser after numbing eye drops have been instilled. The treating physician then maneuvers a joystick which aims the laser in the desired location. The physician then steps on a foot pedal or pushes a button to activate the laser. The laser burst lasts only 1/10th of a second and is usually accompanied by a clicking sound from the laser machinery. The individual being treated may see a bright flash of light. Laser treatment of the macula (the central retina) is usually completely painless. Laser treatment to the peripheral retina usually requires a greater number of larger laser spots resulting in some discomfort (often described as a toothache-like pain). If a large amount of laser treatment is anticipated, the patient may opt to have the eye anesthetized by an injection of numbing medicine around the eye. The results of laser treatment vary depending on the condition being treated and its severity. For many conditions, laser treatment is most effective at preventing visual loss and is best applied before visual loss has occurred (especially diabetic retinopathy).

Dr. Melki has extensive experience in the use of lasers to treat retinal problems. If you or a someone you know has a retinal problem, please call us to arrange a comprehensive evaluation at either of our convenient locations.

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Retina Centers of Washington COVID-19 Safety Protocol

Dear Valued Patients and Friends,

We are truly grateful for the love and support you’ve provided us over the past few months as we navigated through the pandemic. With your continued support, we have been able to stay open, through this entire pandemic, to treat our patients' essential eye care needs. 

The safety of our patients, and our staff members, is our top priority; therefore, we have implemented safety protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

Here are some of our new safety procedures that are currently in place for when you visit our office(s).

Prior to Your Appointment:

·  You will be pre-screened over the phone when scheduling your appointment.

·  If you have symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, we ask that you call and reschedule your appointment.

·  If you have been exposed to anyone with the virus, we ask that you call and reschedule your appointment. 

·  We will minimize the number of people in the practice (please come alone unless there is a true need for someone to accompany you).

·  We request that anyone accompanying you to wait safely in their car, unless it is truly necessary for them to come into your appointment with you. We truly appreciate your cooperation on this.

Once You arrive:

·  We are requiring all patients to arrive wearing a mask (we will provide one if needed), and that it is properly worn through the entire visit. 

·  We will check your temperature upon your arrival.

·  We request that patients use hand sanitizer upon arrival and departure of our office.

·  We have reduced the number of chairs in the waiting area to respect physical distance protocol.

·  All magazines and brochures have been removed.

Staff and Strict Cleaning Protocols:

·  We complete daily prescreening for COVID symptoms for Staff, and Doctors. 

·  All Staff members will be using PPE and wearing masks at all times, including our providers. A face shield and gloves will be worn as needed.

·  Our staff regularly performs surface cleaning of frequently touched areas throughout the day.

·  Our waiting room, exam rooms, testing equipment, and other common areas are cleaned and sterilized after every patient appointment.

We thank you for your patience with all these changes, and for your cooperation as we continue to safely navigate through the pandemic. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 301-279-9124 and we will be glad to help you!