Glaucoma Laser Surgery
Laser surgery has largely displaced traditional surgery for glaucoma, which involves hospital stays and higher risks. While the traditional surgery can be used for people who have more serious cases, the laser surgery can be administered to people with glaucoma of any stage. Although laser surgery can stop the progression of glaucoma, it cannot repair existing damage.
Laser surgery (known as laser trabeculoplasty) for glaucoma treatment helps fluid drain out of the eye. The surgery can't repair existing damage, but it usually stops glaucoma in both acute emergencies and open angle cases. Laser surgery for glaucoma may involve minor side effects, but its risks are quite low. Its low risk allows earlier use in the course of glaucoma, when the potential benefit is greater.
These reasons may explain why glaucoma laser surgery has largely displaced traditional glaucoma surgery, which involves hospital stays and higher risks.
Glaucoma laser surgery is performed in your doctor's office or eye clinic. Before the laser surgery, numbing drops will be applied to your eye.
As you sit facing the laser machine, your doctor will hold a special lens to your eye. A high-intensity beam of light is aimed at the lens and reflected onto the meshwork inside your eye. You may see flashes of bright green or red light. The laser makes several evenly spaced burns that stretch the drainage holes in the meshwork, allowing the fluid to drain better.
There's little or no additional pain, and often not even an unpleasant sensation, with laser surgery for glaucoma.
Following glaucoma laser surgery, your doctor may give you some drops to take home for any soreness or inflammation inside the eye. You need to make several follow-up visits to have your eye pressure monitored.
If you have glaucoma in both eyes, only one eye will be treated at a time. Laser treatments for each eye will be scheduled several days to several weeks apart.
Studies show that laser surgery is very good at reducing the pressure in some patients. However, its effects can wear off over time. Your doctor may suggest other treatments if this is the case.