YAG Laser Peripheral Iridotomy

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma caused by an increase in pressure in the eye, this then causes damage to the optic nerve and loss of visual field.

What is angle closure glaucoma?

In some patients the pressure is caused by a narrowing or even a closure in the angle between the cornea and the iris; the iridocorneal angle.  The iridocorneal angle houses the eyes natural drainage channels. If these are blocked the pressure can rise rapidly. This typically happens at night when the pupil dilates. Lights develop haloes, the eye can ache and even become painful. Full blown attacks often need to be treated with powerful drugs in hospital.

Are some eyes particularly at risk?

Angle closure glaucoma typically occurs in eyes which are long sighted (hypermetropic) and in which early cataract has been diagnosed. The cataract enlarges the lens slowly and causes the iris to move forward in the eye, blocking the drainage angle.

How does this effect my eyes?

A rapid rise in pressure can cause pain, nausea vomiting and visual loss.

What will happen during the consultation?

During the consultation your vision will be checked, the pressure will be checked and the angles examined. An OCT scan of the angles may be useful.

How does the laser work?

The laser is performed in the outpatient department. The laser makes small hole in the iris, this lets fluid pass freely into the drainage channels.

Does this hurt?

The treatment is generally painless and takes about 5 minutes.  You can the red light aiming beam and sometimes you can feels a slight click.

What happens afterwards?

After the treatment a drop is given to the eye to reduce the pressure in the eye and the pressure in the eye is checked.

Are there any potential complications?

The pressure can occasionally rise in the eye, this may need treatment with drops. Rarely the lens can become damaged.  The treatment may need to be repeated.