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Subthreshold diode-laser micropulse photocoagulation as a primary and secondary line of treatment in management of diabetic macular edema

Authors Othman I, Eissa SA, Kotb M, Sadek S

Received 24 December 2013

Accepted for publication 15 January 2014

Published 31 March 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 653—659

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S59669

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Ihab Saad Othman,1 Sherif Ahmed Eissa,1 Mohamed S Kotb,1 Sherin Hassan Sadek2

1Cairo University, Cairo, 2Fayoum University, Al Fayoum, Egypt

Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate subthreshold diode-laser micropulse (SDM) photocoagulation as a primary and secondary line of treatment for clinically significant diabetic macular edema (CSDME).
Methods: In this prospective nonrandomized case series, 220 cases of nonischemic CSDME were managed primarily and secondarily by SDM photocoagulation on a 15% duty cycle with a mean power of 828 mW and a spot size of 75–125 µm. SDM treatment was repeated at 3–4-month intervals if residual leakage was observed. Additional intravitreal pharmacologic therapy was used according to the response. Follow-up varied from 12 to 19 (mean 14±2.8) months. Novel software designed by the authors was used to record the subvisible threshold laser applications and their parameters on the fundus image of the eye. Evaluation of the results of treatment was done using fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Primary outcome measures included changes in visual acuity and foveal thickness at OCT. Secondary outcome measures included visual loss of one or more Snellen lines and laser scars detectable on fundus biomicroscopy or fluorescein angiography.
Results: In the primary treatment group, there was significant improvement or stabilization of visual acuity after the first 3–4 months, which was stable thereafter. Visual acuity was stable in the secondary treatment group. A corresponding reduction of macular thickness on OCT was noted during the follow-up period in both groups. Additional therapy included repeat SDM photocoagulation, intravitreal injection of triamcinolone, and pars plana vitrectomy. Laser marks seen as changes in retinal pigment epithelium on fundus biomicroscopy and fluorescein angiography were noted in 3.3% and 5.7% of cases. Our novel software could accurately record the location of all SDM-invisible applications.
Conclusion: Micropulse laser is an effective minimal intensity therapy that offers the clear advantage of minimizing or avoiding laser-induced visible retinal burn/scarring while reducing the foveal thickness in the management of selected cases of CSDME. Future prospective studies should include the use of SDM photocoagulation as a combined minimally invasive therapy to consolidate the prompt but temporary effects of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor or anti-inflammatory agents. Virtual localization of SDM-invisible applications using our proprietary software could be used to guide further retreatments.

Keywords: subthreshold diode-laser, optical coherence tomography, fluorescein angiography, clinically significant diabetic macular edema

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