Open angle glaucoma may be treated with a laser in an
attempt to lower the pressure inside the eye. This treatment
usually involves minimal discomfort and is completed
in less than thirty minutes. It is usually performed
in the office
with topical anesthetic drops. The laser
is attached to a machine similar to the one that your
ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) uses to examine your eyes.
During the laser procedure, the patient sees multiple
bright flashes or light, and may occasionally feel a
mild stinging sensation in the eye. Usually, however,
the patient experiences no pain.
In Laser treatment for open angle glaucoma, the laser
beam is directed towards the drainage area of the eye,
which is called the trabecular meshwork. This is in the
front part of the eye between the cornea
and the iris.
In some types of glaucoma there is an invisible blockage
in the trabecular meshwork which blocks the outflow of
fluid, thereby increasing the pressure inside the eye.
It has been discovered that treating the trabecular meshwork
with a laser can lower the intraocular pressure. It is
thought that the laser increases the flow of fluid through
This laser is generally effective in about eighty percent
of patients who undergo the procedure. Sometimes the
beneficial effect of the laser is not permanent. In
approximately fifty percent of patients, laser helps
to lower pressure for as long as ten years.
Many times, your ophthalmologist will treat only one
half of the drainage area with the laser treatment.
One reason for
this is to decrease the risk of possible complications
from the laser. Possible
complications include an actual
increase in the eye pressure, or inflammation inside
the eye. These two complications are normally treated
with eye drops. If treatment of one half of the drainage
area works to lower the pressure, the treatment to
the other half of the drainage area can be performed
at a later date, if the eye pressure rises again.
After laser treatment for open angle glaucoma, the
complete effect may not be noticed until about six
weeks after the procedure. Glaucoma medications should
be continued following laser treatment unless your
ophthalmologist instructs you otherwise.
Narrow angle glaucoma can be treated with a laser.
This laser treatment can be used to prevent an attack
of narrow angle glaucoma, and it can also be used during
an attack of narrow angle glaucoma, in order to lower
the eye pressure. Narrow angle glaucoma involves a
narrowing of the drainage area, or angle of the eye.
This narrowing is caused because the iris of the eye
moves closer to the drainage area or in predisposed
individuals. If the iris moves so close that it closes
the drainage area, then the intraocular pressure increases,
and narrow angle glaucoma is the result.
In laser treatment for narrow angle glaucoma, the laser
is used to create a tiny microscopic hole in the iris
of the eye, so that fluid may pass through this hole.
This allows the iris to fall back away from the drainage
area. This usually prevents or cures narrow angle glaucoma.
This laser treatment is usually performed in the office
with topical anesthetic drops. It can usually be completed
in less than thirty minutes and involves minimal discomfort
for the patient. The laser is attached to a machine
similar to the one your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.)
uses to examine your eyes. During the laser procedure,
the patient will notice multiple bright flashing lights
and may experience occasional stinging in the eye.
Normally the patient does not experience any discomfort.
After the laser treatment, your ophthalmologist may
ask you to stay in the office for approximately one
hour so that the eye pressure can be checked. Sometimes,
you may also be asked to return in twenty-four hours
for a repeat pressure check. Usually, you will be asked
to return in one to four weeks for assessment of the