If you have been diagnosed with closed-angle glaucoma, you will need urgent treatment to reduce the amount of pressure in your eyes so that no further damage occurs to your vision. One of the most effective treatments that you may be offered is a procedure known as a laser iridotomy. Here’s what you need to know about this very successful treatment for dealing with closed-angle glaucoma, which we can perform here at our eye care offices.
The angle referred to in closed-angle glaucoma is the space between the clear part of the eye (the cornea) and the colored part (the iris), close to their meeting point near the edge of the iris. It is this part of the eye that contains the trabecular mesh that directs fluid out of the eye so that the pressure within the eye remains stable. If you have healthy eyes, the fluid within your eye, called the aqueous humor, will flow through your pupil into the front of your eye and drain away through the drainage channels. However, if you have closed-angle glaucoma, the drainage channels are obstructed by the iris which has moved forward. This means that the aqueous humor cannot leave the eye and instead causes the pressure, referred to as intraocular pressure, or IOP, to rise to such a level that is causes damage to the optic nerve. This is the nerve that carries information from your eye to your brain. When it becomes damaged, it compromises your vision.
A laser iridotomy is a very simple process. The laser being used is targeted at your eye with the purpose of making a small hole in your iris. This creates a permanent passage through which the excess aqueous humor can flow, pushing the iris backward into a regular position, and unblocking the trabecular mesh so that the fluid can drain normally.
Since the procedure is performed using laser technology, it is both fast and effective. The entire appointment will usually take less than an hour, with 30 minutes allowed for preparation before the procedure. This involves being given eye drops that will shrink your pupils and others that will numb the surface of the eyes. You may also be given eye drops that will begin to lower the pressure inside your eyes.
Once these have taken effect, you will be ready for your procedure. Your eye doctor will put a special contact lens on your eye which allows them to view your iris clearly. The laser is then focused on the pre-determined location within the iris and the hole is made. You may feel a little discomfort, but the anesthetic given topically via your eyedrops should prevent any significant pain. After the hole has been made in your iris, you will be able to return to the waiting area where you will be asked to stay for around an hour. After this time, the pressure within your eyes will be checked and should have dropped.
There is some degree of risk with any sort of eye-based procedure, but complications after a laser iridotomy are uncommon. The laser itself is sterile and the hole can be created using precision and accuracy. Provided you follow the instructions given to you by your surgical team, there is no reason why your procedure shouldn’t be a complete success. However, if you experience any issues such as excessive pain, loss of vision, flashing lights or redness, you should contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.
If you would like more information about laser iridotomy procedures, or if you have concerns about glaucoma, please don’t hesitate to speak to our expert team of eye care specialists today.