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May 1989

Use of the Carbon Dioxide Laser in the Drainage of Subretinal Fluid

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Engel and Blair and Mr Baker) and Otolaryngology (Dr Harris), University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(5):731-734. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070010749039

• Hemorrhage and retinal perforation are two sight-threatening complications associated with techniques employed to drain subretinal fluid in rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. We hypothesized that the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser would reduce these complications because of its cauterizing action and high absorption in water. The CO2 laser was compared with a conventional technique of using a penetrating diathermy electrode to drain subretinal fluid in rabbits with experimentally detached retinas. No hemorrhage occurred in 223 drainage trials using the CO2 laser, whereas hemorrhage occurred in 21 (4.8%) of 434 trials using the penetrating diathermy electrode. Furthermore, a depth of saline of only 45 μm protected the retina from perforation at CO2 laser dose adequate for drainage. These results indicate that further evaluation of the CO2 laser in treating human retinal detachment is warranted.