Laser Surgery for Glaucoma
Laser surgery is frequently used in the treatment of glaucoma. The surgery is performed through the use of a precise, low-intensity light beam that allows for better outflow of the eye’s fluid.
Prior to the laser procedure, the eye is numbed with a topical anesthetic or a behind the eyeball (retrobulbar) injection so most patients experience little to no pain.
Laser Procedures Used in the Treatment of Glaucoma:
- Trabeculoplasty – Used in the treatment of primary open-angle glaucoma, the laser beam opens fluid drainage channels in the eye. Portions of the trabecular meshwork (a honeycomb triangle of collagen and elastic fiber in the eye that helps regulate the flow of aqueous humor) are treated. Micropulse laser trabeculoplasty utilizes longer pulses but less energy to reduce the risk of intraocular pressure spikes afterwards.
- Peripheral Iridotomy – This narrow-angle glaucoma treatment involves creating a small hole in the iris with the laser to improve fluid drainage in cases where the angle between the iris and cornea is too small.
- Cyclophotocoagulation – Laser treatment that decreases intraocular pressure by reducing the ciliary body’s ability to produce eye fluid.
Side Effects & Risks of Glaucoma Laser Surgery
Some patients experience eye irritation or blurriness immediately after the laser procedure. Most can return to their normal activities the next day after laser eye surgery.
Many glaucoma patients have been successfully treated with laser surgery, but no procedure is without risk. A short-term increase in intraocular pressure may occur after treatment. Intraocular pressure may also fall making it impossible to maintain the eye’s normal metabolism and shape. There is also a slight risk of developing cataracts after certain laser procedures for glaucoma.
If laser eye surgery is recommended, your eye surgeon will discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure.