Thermal laser photocoagulation surgery is used to treat wet (wet AMD). But this surgery is an option for less than one-fourth of people who have wet AMD.4 Whether your AMD can be treated by laser photocoagulation surgery or other surgery depends on the location and development of abnormal blood vessels under the retina.
Surgery does not cure wet AMD, but it can sometimes slow down or prevent further loss of central vision. Without treatment, vision loss from wet AMD may progress until a person has no left. Early surgery is vital to slowing down vision loss, which can be rapid.
By the time many people are diagnosed with wet AMD, it is often too late for surgery to provide much benefit. Even with treatment, many people will still go on to lose more of their central vision.
Currently, surgery is not used to treat dry AMD. Laser surgery to remove deposits called may slow vision loss in people with dry AMD, but experts think that it may increase the chance of developing wet AMD. Researchers are currently doing studies to see if this is an effective treatment.1
The only surgical method for treating wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) is laser surgery, or laser photocoagulation.
What To Think About
Laser surgery can result in some loss of central vision, because the laser cannot burn the abnormal blood vessels under the macula without also burning some of the normal nerve cells in the macula. But while your vision may be worse right after surgery, it may be less likely to continue to get worse than if you did not have the surgery.
AMD does not cause the same amount of vision loss in everyone who has the disease. It is often hard to know in advance whether laser surgery will do more harm than good.