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Re: [IP] Pain with laser surgery

I've had numerous lasers - maybe 4 or 5 in each eye - most about 1000-1500 
hits each. Some I have had with the novocaine shot and others not. My 
retinal specialist said that certain areas of the retina are more sensitive 
to pain than others and I think he makes the decisio based on where the 
laser is going to be. The times I haven't had novocaine, there were some 
areas that were completely pain free and others that were pretty 
uncomfortable (felt to me like someone pressing hard on my retina with a 
pencil).  The novocaine shot is certainly not the most pleasant thing to 
do, but for me it was mostly the idea of it that grossed me out - it really 
wasn't that painful - just pressure. When they give me novocaine shots, 
they kind of press through my eyelid to lift my eyeball up in the socket a 
bit, and they ease the needle through the eyelid and into what I think is 
into the back of the orbit.  the only side effect I know of from the 
novocaine is that it also "paralyzes" your eye, and they give you a patch 
afterwards so you won't have double vision (from that eye not focusing 
right). But for me that was only overnight and then the novocaine wore off. 
I've had three lasers during pregnancies and they even gave me novocaine 
shots while I was pregnant.

Also, my brother has diabetes and he's also had a number of lasers. He used 
to always get the novocaine shot  but he was so grossed out by the 
novocaine shots and they were such a stumbling block for him that he 
finally asked if he could try the laser without the shots. They did it, and 
he is mUCH happier with the lasers he's had since then - he says he 
definitely prefers to do it without the novocaine shot.

A final note to those who haven't had laser before - some people are 
posting about how painful it was...for me, it was not a painful or 
miserable experience. I was eXTREMELY nervous my first time, and found 
myself very pleasantly surprised at how "easy" it was.  I am pretty 
tolerant of pain - both my pregnancies I delivered without pain meds and 
didn't feel too miserable either.

Oh, one other thing. They do laser for macular edema, which is a form of 
background retinopathy and not proliferative retinopathy. For macular edema 
they do a focal laser, which is far fewer laser burns, and they are focused 
on a particular area where the leakage of fluid is. I've had a few of these 
and he's never recomended novocaine for these surgeries, since it's a much 
more focused surgery.  For proliferative retinopathy, they generally do 
pan-retinal laser burns - which is a lot of burns - like over 1000. In my 
experience they are more likely to use the novocaine when they are going to 
do lots of burns, but I have had pan-retinal without novocaine.

And P.S. I have never heard of the saline injection in the eye to absorb 
the heat, nor have they done that in any of my lasers, so certainly not 
everyone who has laser has to have that.

betsy, going i for a laser next week as a matter of fact - at 29 weeks 

Betsy, age 34, Type 1 27 years, Disetronic 6 yrs, on third pregnancy with
pump and due in June.
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