The Micropulse Yellow Laser is an innovative medical device that emits pulses of yellow light of very short duration (micro-pulses). It is used for the treatment of numerous diseases affecting the retina. It is particularly indicated for the treatment of maculopathies, the diseases affecting the macula, which is the area of the retina that provides our distinct central vision and allows us to recognize faces, read, write, appreciate colors, etc. Specifically, the Micropulse Yellow Laser proved to be decisive in significantly stopping the progression of diseases such as chronic central serous chorioretinopathy (CRSC), diabetic retinopathy with macular edema, and retinal vein thrombosis with macular edema.
If it is true that there are unfortunately no cures able to definitively restore sight to those suffering from some form of maculopathy, then the laser therapies currently available can slow down the development of the disease.
The Yellow Micropulse Laser is a solid-state laser which is a laser beam that is emitted from a diode and has a wavelength of 577 nanometers which is the color yellow of the spectrum of visible light. It has the characteristic of selectively interacting with the retinal pigment epithelium.
This laser has already existed prior but is further refined. There is no laser spot that has a duration of 100 milliseconds or half a second. So, the trains of pulses are used and repeated accordingly. Essentially, it is like turning on and off a light switch with a frequency that is at a very high speed and not perceivable. With such laser action, the primary benefit of using it is obtained, which is to stimulate the pigment epithelium of the retina while clearing any thermal effect which can negatively influence the retina.
The traditional 532 nanometer laser produces light in the wavelength of green and has a diverse use, a photocoagulative effect that attends to the abnormal blood vessels of the retina and used in diabetic retinopathy, thrombosis of the central vein of the retina and all ischemic vascular diseases. This type of laser is not outdated but is joined by a 577 nanometer micro laser. With this new technology, this new laser allows to restore the metabolism of the cells of the retinal pigment epithelium and reactivate the pump effect and eventually reduce the edema. Therefore, the therapeutic purpose of this type of laser falls within the sphere of macular edemas. A macular edema is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the retina that may result to the central serous chorioretinopathy. CSC is a pathology that affects the young, aged, stressed or the average smoker. Dysfunction and loss of retinal pigment epithelium with chronic CSC may lead to a longstanding fluid that cannot be reabsorbed. The presence of chronic fluid may result in permanent visual loss.
The liquid that is collected in the noblest area of the retina or macular edema remains a great challenge to the ophthalmologist but with the innovative yellow micropulse laser, we may be able to increase the number of successful treatments.
What Differentiates The Micropulse Yellow Laser From Other Laser Treatments
The lasers used to treat retinal diseases work through the emission of a continuous green light that determines the warming of the macula. This makes them effective but also particularly invasive towards the treated ocular zone; injuries to the photoreceptor cells of the retina and the consequent formation of large “scars” which, depending on where they are positioned, can even lead to complications such as further reduction of visual acuity, visual field, color perception, night vision, and contrast sensitivity.
The Micropulse Yellow Laser, on the other hand, emits micropulses of yellow light and are of very short duration, interspersed with brief periods of rest. This eliminates the problem of overheating of affected tissues and therefore, allows the delicate central part of the macula to be treated, the fovea centralis, without the typical risks of conventional lasers such as the aforementioned damage to the visual cell layer (photoreceptors).
How The Micropulse Yellow Laser Works
By emitting ultrashort pulses (in the microsecond sequence) with a highly regulated switch, the Micropulse Yellow Laser does not create a thermal effect to “burn” the retinal cells and force the activation of the surrounding cells. In contrast, it generates scattered activation, without burns, of the cells of the underlying layer called retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). It is a selective barrier to and a vegetative regulator of the overlying photoreceptor layer, thereby playing a key role in its maintenance.
This cellular reactivation allows for the reabsorption of the liquid build-up that causes visual impairment because it accumulates in the central retina (macula).
How To Perform A Treatment With The Micropulse Yellow Laser
The process is painless, quick, and safe. Compared to conventional lasers, treatment times are reduced and the piercing sensation that is often associated with the said lasers is greatly diminished. The patient is instilled with mydriatic eye drops to dilate the pupil and subsequently, a few anesthetic eye drops. The patient is seated in front of the laser and after the session, there may be a brief feeling of dizziness, nausea, minor annoyances that easily go away within a few minutes.
The results are apparent after a period of time that is generally longer than that of traditional lasers, usually one to three months.