This laser has been developed to provide up to 5 watts of power for more efficient treatment of severe central retinal vein occlusions. Central retinal vein occlusions (see elsewhere) are due to a narrowing/compression of the major veins, draining blood from the retinal circulation. The resulting dramatic slowdown in blood flow deprives the retina of oxygen and keeps high levels of toxic waste products, resulting in gradual retinal cell death.
The optimal treatment is obviously restoration of blood flow but because it is not possible to free up the blockage in the vein, the best alternative is to create a bypass shunting or redirecting the retinal blood to flow into the free-flowing underlying choroidal vessels. This is achieved by creating an intense burn, which essentially drills down, into the underlying blood vessel layer of the choroid. Standard 532 constant wave laser units have a maximum power output of 1-1.5 W. More power than this is necessary to increase the likelihood of a successful bypass forming.
Although most patients with a retinal vein blockage can be managed with injection of anti-VEGF drugs such as Eylea or Lucentis effectively, the most severe blockages result in irreversible retinal damage. Creating an alternative outflow to restore oxygenation and removal of waste products can reduce damage and diminish the number of injections required to maintain useful vision.