Pain response in patients undergoing panretinal photocoagulation by continuos wave Nd-YAG laser

S.S. Al-Husainy, P.M. Dodson, J.M. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract


Purpose: Current panretinal laser photocoagulative parameters are based on the Diabetic Retinopathy Study, which used exposures of 0.1 - 0.5 second to achieve moderate intensity retinal burns. Unfortunately, many patients find these settings painful. We wanted to investigate whether reducing exposure time and increasing power to give the same endpoint, is more comfortable and effective.
Methods: 20 patients having panretinal photocoagulation for the first time underwent random allocation to two forms of laser treatment: half of the retinal area scheduled for treatment was treated with Green Yag laser with conventional parameters {exposure time 0.1 second (treatment A), power density sufficient to produce a visible grey - white burns}. The other half treated with shorter exposure 0.02 second (treatment B). All patient were asked to evaluate severity of pain on a visual analogue scale ranging from 0 - 10 (0 = no pain, 10 = most severe pain). All patients were masked as to the type of treatment. The order of carrying out the treatment on each patient was randomised. Fundus photographs were taken of each hemifundus to confirm treatment.
Results: Of the 20 patients, 17 had proliferative diabetic retinopathy, 2 had ischaemic central retinal vein occlusion and one had ocular ischaemic syndrome. The average pain response to treatment A was 5.11 on a visual analogue scale with a mean power of 0.178 Watt; the average pain response to treatment B was 1.40 with a mean power of 0.489 Watt. Short exposure laser burns were significantly less painful (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Shortening exposure time with increased power is more comfortable for patients undergoing panretinal photocoagulation than conventional parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3459
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


  • retina
  • diabetic retinopathy
  • laser


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