Laser iridotomy uses a very focused beam of
light to create a hole on the outer edge, or rim, of the iris, the colored part
of the eye. This opening allows fluid (aqueous humor) to
flow between the anterior chamber, the front part of the eye, and the area
behind the iris, the posterior chamber. This opening may decrease pressure in
the eye and usually prevents sudden buildup of pressure within the eye, which
occurs during an episode of acute closed-angle glaucoma.
people feel a sensation of heat in the eye during laser surgeries. But there
usually is no pain after laser iridotomy.
Pinkeye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the covering of the eyeball and inside of the eyelid). This inflammation may lead to redness, tearing, discharge, itching, and pain. Pinkeye is also called conjunctivitis.
Laser iridotomy can be done without
admitting the person to a hospital. The person may need to see his or her
doctor 1 hour after laser surgery. The person will also need to see the doctor
for a follow-up exam as recommended.
Why It Is Done
Laser iridotomy is used to:
closed-angle glaucoma after the pressure in the
affected eye has been reduced with medicine or when medicines
Prevent closed-angle glaucoma in people who have narrow
drainage angles and those people who have had
closed-angle glaucoma in their other eye.
How Well It Works
Laser iridotomy can prevent further
episodes of sudden (acute) closed-angle glaucoma.
can usually prevent slow-forming (subacute) closed-angle glaucoma in people who
are at risk for closed-angle glaucoma.
Sometimes people can take
less medicine to treat glaucoma after having laser iridotomy.
Swelling of the clear covering (cornea) of the
Increased pressure in the
Closure of the new opening. A second surgery might be needed
if the new opening closes.
Burn to the inner lining of the eye
(retinal burn). This is a very rare complication.
Later complications that may develop include:
Worsening of clouding of the lens (cataract)
that was present before laser treatment.
Closure of the opening.
Recurrent closed-angle glaucoma.
another type of glaucoma.
Continuing need for medicines (depends on
the person's condition before laser treatment).
Glare from light
entering through the new opening.
What To Think About
Closed-angle glaucoma usually
affects both eyes over time. When sudden (acute) closed-angle glaucoma occurs
in one eye and laser surgery has been done on that eye, laser iridotomy is
usually done on the other eye to prevent the condition from developing. Without
treatment, there is a 50% chance that closed-angle glaucoma will also develop
in the unaffected eye.1
High pressure in the eyes may continue after laser iridotomy. The person may
need to be monitored closely for this even after the procedure. Some people may
require additional treatment, such as eyedrops, to lower the eye