Laser Surgery

Laser surgery has become increasingly popular as an intermediate step between medicine and traditional surgery though the long-term success rates are variable.

The most common type performed for open-angle glaucoma is called trabeculoplasty. This procedure takes between 10 and 15 minutes, is painless, and can be performed in either a doctor’s office or an outpatient facility. The laser beam (a high energy light beam) is focused upon the eye’s drain. Contrary to what many people think, the laser does not burn a hole through the eye. Instead, the eye’s drainage system is changed in very subtle ways so that the aqueous fluid is able to pass more easily out of the drain, thus lowering IOP (intraocular eye pressure).

You may go home and resume your normal activities following surgery. Your doctor will likely check your IOP (intraocular eye pressure) one or two hours following laser surgery. After this procedure, many patients respond well enough to be able to avoid or delay surgery. While it may take a few weeks to see the full pressure-lowering effect of this procedure, during which time you may have to continue taking your medications, many patients are eventually able to discontinue some of their treatments. This, however, is not true in all cases. Your doctor is the best judge of determining whether or not you still need the medication. Complications from laser are minimal which is why this procedure has become increasingly popular.