Laser Therapy

Laser Therapy is one of the least invasive forms of treatment for pediatric retinoblastoma. These lasers are sometimes used to shrink tumors, eliminate tumors, or destroy blood vessels that are connected to the tumors in order to cut off the blood supply to the tumors. Laser therapy can be used as a lone form of treatment, or it can be used in combination with other methods of treatment.

Types of Retinoblastoma Laser Therapy

There are two main types of laser therapy, photocoagulation and laser hyperthermia. Both of these procedures are done under general anesthesia. In most laser therapy sessions, the laser is aimed through the pupil, but emerging technology enables a small beam of light or heat to be delivered through a tool called a diopexy probe through the wall of the eye, rather than the pupil. This eliminates some of the risk of visual impairment.


Photocoagulation is a type of laser therapy that uses a beam of light to destroy the tumors or blood vessels. This is typically recommended for tumors that are smaller than three millimeters in diameter and do not extend beyond the retina of the eye. The success of photocoagulation in treating pediatric retinoblastoma has to do with the location of the tumor, the size, and the elevation. This type of treatment was most successful for tumors that were small in diameter, elevated to a height that was less than half the diameter, and that were closer to the surface of the eye.

Laser Hyperthermia

Laser hyperthermia is not as commonly recommended as most other forms of retinoblastoma treatment. In laser hyperthermia, a beam of heat is used to destroy retinoblastoma cells or connected blood vessels. This type of therapy may shrink tumors as opposed to destroying the entire tumor at one time, and subsequent sessions may be required. This type of therapy can also be called laser thermotherapy, as there are other methods that are more commonly used to deliver thermotherapy for treatment of retinoblastoma.

Retinoblastoma Laser Therapy Side Effects

Laser therapy typically does not cause severe pain or require any type of medication after the procedure. The eye may be red and irritated immediately following the procedure, but this will clear up quickly in most cases. As with cryotherapy, however, laser therapy can damage the retina of the eye. This can cause blind spots and in some cases the retina may become temporarily detached from the eyeball.


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