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Narrow Angle Glaucoma

Laser Iridotomy: Narrow-Angle Glaucoma Laser Treatment

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In order to treat both acute narrow-angle glaucoma and chronic narrow-angle glaucoma , our Atlanta ophthalmology experts at Milan Eye Center offer the narrow-angle glaucoma laser treatment known as laser iridotomy.

Acute narrow-angle glaucoma can occur suddenly when the colored portion of your eye (iris) is pushed or pulled forward, causing a blockage of the drainage angle.

When internal eye structures are blocked in this way, your eye’s internal pressure (intraocular pressure) may spike and possibly damage the optic nerve that transmits images from the eye to the brain.

A sudden glaucoma attack may be associated with severe eye pain and headache, a red inflamed eye, dilated pupils, halos around lights, nausea, vomiting, and blurry vision. These signs may last for hours or until the intraocular pressure is reduced. With each narrow-angle glaucoma attack, part of your peripheral vision may be lost.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency. If the high pressure is not reduced within hours, it can damage vision permanently. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should contact your Milan Eye Center ophthalmologist immediately or go to a hospital emergency room.

Some chronic forms of narrow-angle glaucoma can progress very slowly and cause eye damage without any obvious symptoms or pain in early stages.

What is a Laser Iridotomy?

Simply stated, the narrow angle glaucoma laser treatment known as laser iridotomy opens a narrow drainage angle in the eye. Since the angle is the part of the eye that drains fluid, narrowing of the angle can put the eye at risk for an acute attack of angle closure glaucoma. However, LPI can prevent both acute attacks and the development of chronic narrow angle glaucoma. During the LPI, a laser is used to make a small opening in the peripheral iris (the colored part of the eye). This changes the fluid dynamics in the eye and “opens” the angle. If you already have acute angle closure glaucoma, the small opening that is made in the peripheral iris allows fluid to drain more normally and also lowers the eye pressure.

The Laser Iridotomy Procedure

A laser iridotomy is an outpatient procedure that can be performed at the Milan Eye Center office. You are seated at a slit lamp with your forehead resting against a headpiece and your chin resting in a chin-rest. After some eye drops are used to numb the eye, a lens will be placed on your eye. This will prevent you from blinking and will also minimize your eye movements. The lens also helps direct the laser light into your eye. The laser, which is attached to the slit lamp equipment, is then directed into the eye. The procedure usually takes a few minutes. Most people experience minimal discomfort during the procedure. After the laser, you may experience some irritation in the eye and some blurry vision, but this commonly resolves by the same evening of the procedure. You will have your eye pressure checked thirty minutes after the laser procedure with a followup appointment one week after your laser iridotomy. The number and frequency of visits after the laser surgery may vary and depend on the condition of your eye. Most people will need to perform an eye drop regimen four times per day for one week to help the eye heal rapidly.