Photocoagulation therapy is a method of treating detachments (tears) of the retina (the layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye) with an argon laser. The high-intensity beam of light from the laser is converted into heat, which forces protein molecules in the affected tissue to condense and seal the tear.
The purpose of photocoagulation therapy is to reattach a torn or detached portion of the retina and/or prevent further growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina that can cause a detachment.
The incidence of RD in the United States is about 0.3%, or one in 15,000 people.
The most common risk factors associated with RD are extreme nearsightedness (5% risk); cataract removal without lens implantation (2%); and cataract removal with loss of the vitreous body during surgery (10%). It is estimated that 15% of people with RD in one eye will eventually develop it in the other eye.
Males account for 60% and females for 40% of patients with RD below the age of 45. Above age 45, there is no significant gender difference.
With regard to racial or ethnic background, the incidence of RD is higher among Jews in the United States than in the general population; the incidence of RD among African Americans is lower than average.
Rebecca Frey PhD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,