A multicolor pattern scan laser (MC-500 Vixi, Nidek) should help laser therapy maintain or potentially expand its role in the treatment of certain retinal diseases even with the availability of effective new injectable pharmaceutical products, suggest retinal specialists who have experience with the recently approved device. The precision and reproducibility of its pattern scans and availability of three wavelengths make this laser a versatile tool for a clinic or academic institution.
"Targeted laser in a patterned or homogeneous fashion is going to be the laser treatment of the future," said Paul E. Tornambe, MD, FACS, a retina specialist practicing in San Diego. "It's not at the moment, but it's going to be the way we perform retinal laser surgery in the future. I don' the see why you would want to use a laser that doesn't have a pattern capability because I think it adds to the performance, safety, and versatility of the laser.
" Dr. Tornambe began using the laser in mid- October to treat patients with a range of retinal diseases and dropped his earlier skepticism about pattern laser therapy a few weeks after his introduction to the pattern laser.
"Up until now I've always felt that a laser is a laser and that we weren't going anywhere with it in the near future," he said. "With the advent of drugs it seemed that laser treatments were becoming less and less frequent.
" Now that Dr. Tornambe has experience with the pattern scan laser, he envisions a revival of laser therapy.
"It has revolutionized the way we treat disease," he said. "It's the closest thing we have in ophthalmology to robotic surgery whereby the surgeon predetermines what he or she wants to do, then sets the instrument to do a task, targets the tissue, and lets the laser make the pattern.
" Allan Hunter, MD, a vitreoretinal fellow at the University of California, Davis, has also been using the laser for several months. Though pharmacologic therapies have become standard for treating some retinal diseases, he said that laser therapy remains a valid option as primary or supplementary therapy. The new multifunctional device is a good fit when laser therapy is appropriate.
"It's a very efficient, accurate way of applying green, yellow, or red wavelengths in the clinical setting," he said.