What Is Laser Eye Surgery for Glaucoma?

Do you have glaucoma? Perhaps, you are wondering if you are a suitable candidate for a laser eye surgery treatment for glaucoma. Here are some facts that you need to know about glaucoma and the possible laser eye surgery for your case.

Laser Surgery for Patients with glaucoma

Patients diagnosed with glaucoma can undergo a laser eye surgery procedure if the prescribed medicines aren’t performing well to treat this type of eye disease. For those individuals who aren’t aware what glaucoma is, it is a disease affecting the eyes in which physiologic fluid in the eyes stop flowing properly and backs up like a clogged drain in the sink, causing increased pressure inside the eyes that may lead to damage of the optic nerve and eventually loss of one’s vision.

The standard procedure of a laser surgical treatment for glaucoma is to make holes or shrink the clogged areas of the affected eye with the use of a small, top performing laser beam. The procedure is done by a laser eye surgeon at his/her eye clinic or a reputable laser eye center. If both eyes are infected with the disease, the process can be performed at the same time or the other one at a later date and this is considered as outpatient case. Patient can see after the procedure, but some side effects like itchiness, sandy feeling and slight inflammation can be felt for a few days after surgery. Patients may also become sensitive to light and have blurry vision, but are temporary and eye will be back to normal once the healing progress is complete. Some glaucoma medicines are also given to patients after the surgery.

What are the factors to consider if a patient with glaucoma is a suitable candidate for a laser surgery?

  • Age.
  • Eye structure.
  • Type of glaucoma.
  • Other diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes.

What to expect during a laser eye surgery?

  • Anesthetic eye drops are given to the patient to numb the eye(s).
  • Patient is required to sit on a chair facing a slit lamp which has a laser machine attached to it.
  • Special lenses are put on the patient’s eye where a laser is used to target the problem.
  • Patient may see flashes of colored light while the procedure is performed.
  • Both eyes can be treated the same day or on separate dates if preferred by the patient.

3 laser eye surgery types a patient can have depending on his/her glaucoma

  • Laser Trabeculoplasty – where the eye surgeon targets the trabecular meshworks, pointing the laser beam at 50 to 100 spots. The laser helps unclog the targeted area and drains all the fluid on the eye. This procedure is perfect with open-angle glaucoma.
  • Laser Iridotomy – performed to patients with angle-closure glaucoma. The surgeon will give the patient eye drops to make the pupil size smaller, then a laser will be used to produce a tiny opening in the iris, so that fluid will pass through,creating bypass channels in essence. Once the fluid drains, the eye pressure decreases.
  • Cyclophotocoagulation – used to treat patients with severe cases of glaucoma where the eye medicines and surgeries cannot provide remedies. The eye surgeon targets the white part of the eye (sclera) with a laser and then, to the ciliary body. The ciliary body is the part of our eyes that produce the eye fluid. The goal of this procedure is to destroy the parts ciliary body, so that it can no longer produce eye fluid.