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 mild but sharp sensation in the eye during this procedure. But there
usually is no pain after laser iridotomy.
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.
Laser iridotomy is mainly used to:
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.
Complications of laser iridotomy may
Later complications may include:
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 watched closely for this even after the procedure. Some people may
need additional treatment, such as eyedrops or surgical iridectomy, to lower the eye
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
American Academy of Ophthalmology (2005).
Primary Angle Closure (Preferred Practice Pattern). San
Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology. Also available online:
February 28, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
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