What is laser iridotomy?
Laser iridotomy is specific eye surgery that treats angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma is when the iris stops fluid (called aqueous) from leaving the front of the eye as it should. Pressure in the eye raises quickly and the optic nerve is damaged. This is a serious problem that can cause blindness. Laser iridotomy helps fluid drain normally again, lowering your eye pressure.
Laser iridotomy is also used to prevent angle-closure glaucoma in individuals who are
at risk for having this problem. These individuals have what is called a “narrow angle.”
Symptoms of an attack include:
Blurry or foggy vision severe eye and/or brow pain headache, nausea, vomiting
seeing rainbow-colored rings or halos around lights
An acute angle-closure glaucoma attack is an emergency. It must be treated as soon as possible to prevent loss of vision. If you have these symptoms, call an ophthalmologist right away or go to a hospital emergency room.
Some people do not have symptoms with their closed-angle glaucoma, but high pressure is still damaging the optic nerve. This is called chronic angle-closure glaucoma. This condition often requires surgery. Ophthalmologists are aware that reducing eye pressure as soon as possible can save your vision.
How is laser iridotomy performed?
Laser iridotomy is performed in an outpatient surgery center or in your ophthalmologist’s office. Your eye surgeon uses a laser to create a small hole in your iris. This aides the aqueous fluid flow out of the eye. It also helps the iris return to its natural position. The fluid can then move in and out of the eye as it should, lowering pressure. laser iridotomy only takes a few minutes.
Here is what happens:
Your eye will be numbed with eye drops. You may be given other eye drops as well to make your pupil very tiny. Your ophthalmologist will place a specific contact lens on your eye. This serves as a guide for the laser. Using the laser, your ophthalmologist will precisely create a small hole in your iris. You may feel a stinging sensation as the laser is being utilized.
After laser iridotomy: The new passageway enhances the flow of aqueous fluid to the drainage angle. After the procedure, your vision may be hazy for a couple of hours. Plan to have someone drive you home after the surgery.
Your ophthalmologist may prescribe medicine that you need to take for a few days after laser iridotomy.
Risks may include:
- headache or brow pain
- a rapid increase in eye pressure eye redness, swelling or pain bleeding in the eye
- foggy vision or seeing streaks of light
- cataract (clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens) the need to have laser iridotomy again, or to need to have another surgery
Your ophthalmologist will talk with you about the concerns and benefits of laser iridotomy.
Laser iridotomy is a type of surgery to soothe and prevent angle-closure glaucoma. This form of glaucoma is when your iris stops fluid (called aqueous) from leaving the front of the eye as it should. Pressure in the eye raises and the optic nerve is damaged. Laser iridotomy aides fluid drain properly again, dropping your eye pressure.
If you have glaucoma, it is important to know your ophthalmologist should regularly to check for any eye and vision changes.