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Cryotherapy

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Cryotherapy a freezing treatment that has been largely replaced by retinal laser for many conditions but still has important uses in modern medicine.

Cryotherapy is delivered using a small probe to the outer surface of the eye.  The goal of treatment is to create a scar between the retina and the eye wall in order to seal off retinal holes or barricade detachments.  Less commonly, cryotherapy is used to treat ocular tumors or abnormal, leaking blood vessels.  The main benefit of cryotherapy is that it can be performed even if there is fluid underneath the retina (in which case retinal laser would not work). 

Cryotherapy is a non-invasive procedure.  Often an anesthetic injection is performed prior to the procedure for pain control, and patients afterwards can have some discomfort or a dull ache which may be treated with over-the-counter medications.  The vision is often blurred for several hours after treatment treatment, and vision in the treated eye may not return to pre-treatment levels for one or two days in some cases.

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