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Glaucoma YAG laser iridotomy

YAG laser iridotomy can preserve the vision of patients with glaucoma.

YAG laser iridotomy for glaucoma effectively prevents the development of rapidly rising intraocular pressure (the pressure of fluid inside your eye). As a result, it prevents subsequent permanent damage to your optic nerve which occurs when the draining angles in your eye become narrow and begin to close. We share more information about YAG laser iridotomy treatment.

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that happen when the optic nerve that connects your eye to your brain becomes damaged. This is usually from a rise in pressure from the fluid inside your eye.

An early diagnosis and treatment for glaucoma can prevent this.

In most cases, there is no clear reason as to what causes a build-up of fluid in your eye(s). But if you have a family history of glaucoma or suffer from diabetes, short-sightedness, or long-sightedness, or some other eye conditions such as uveitis, you could be at higher risk of developing glaucoma.

Glaucoma treatment differs depending on the type and severity of glaucoma. An eye specialist known as an Ophthalmologist (Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon) can diagnose the type of glaucoma you have and help find the best treatment for you.

If initial treatment (such as eye drops) does not improve your symptoms, your Consultant might recommend laser treatment. Laser iridotomy is an option if your drainage angles are very narrow or almost closed.

Our dedicated Ophthalmologists are highly experienced in carrying out YAG laser iridotomy treatment. They would be delighted to treat you.

Most glaucoma is asymptomatic except for the advanced cases when visual loss occurs. The most common type of glaucoma is with open drainage angles in the eye (primary open angle glaucoma).

Although this is less frequent, your drainage angles can also close which can gradually increase pressure in your eye. In some instances, it can lead to a sudden and severe rise in pressure and visual loss.

If you do develop this sudden onset of glaucoma (angle closure glaucoma), you might experience symptoms quickly.

In this instance, it is important that you visit your local hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) department as soon as possible.

Glaucoma symptoms include:

  • Sudden blurred vision;
  • The presence of rainbow-coloured circles when looking at bright lights;
  • Intense eye pain;
  • A headache;
  • Tenderness around the eyes, and
  • Nausea and vomiting.

There are different forms of glaucoma, including:

Acute angle closure glaucoma: this refers to a sudden increase in eye pressure that occurs when the flow of watery fluid in your eye becomes blocked. This can damage your optic nerve.

Chronic closed or narrow angle glaucoma: this happens when the drain (‘angle’) between the iris and cornea becomes very narrow or closed. This limits the flow of fluid in out of your eye causing sudden increased pressure.

Secondary glaucoma: this is caused by an underlying eye condition. You can also develop secondary glaucoma due to complications from eye surgery, infection or injury.

If initial treatment such as eye drops do not improve your symptoms, your Consultant might recommend other procedures, such as laser treatment.

There are different types of laser treatment for glaucoma, including:

  • Glaucoma YAG laser iridotomy: This uses a laser to create a small hole in your iris, allowing fluid to leave your eye, relieving your symptoms in turn.
  • Laser trabeculoplasty: This procedure uses a laser to open the drainage tubes in your eyes, allowing fluid to drain out of your eye, reducing any intraocular pressure (pressure in your eye).
  • Cyclodiode laser treatment: This uses a laser to eliminate the section of your eye tissue responsible for producing watery liquid. This can also help alleviate eye pressure.     

Although laser treatment such as a YAG laser iridotomy cannot restore your vision, it can prevent your vision from deteriorating significantly.

Before this procedure begins, you will be seated in front of a laser machine. Anaesthetic drops will be administered to numb the front of the eye.

A special lens will be positioned against the front area of your eye. The YAG laser is then directed toward the lens to create a small hole in your iris (the coloured part of your eye). This is known as an iridotomy. This hole is typically created on the upper edge of your iris to allow fluid to move across your iris and through your trabecular meshwork (the drainage system of your eye)

During laser iridotomy surgery, you can expect to hear some clicking noises from the laser, but this is nothing to worry about. You might experience slight pain that lasts no more than a second. The laser treatment for each eye can take around five to 10 minutes to perform.

After your laser iridotomy, you will be prescribed eye drops to minimise any inflammation from the laser. You will need to book a follow-up consultation with your ophthalmology Consultant before going home, so they can monitor and manage your recovery as closely as possible.

You won’t be able to drive after your appointment, so it is important that you arrange for someone to collect you.

You might have slightly blurred vision for the first few hours following your YAG laser iridotomy. Your eye could also feel bruised and you could have blurred vision which can take a couple of days to resolve. Eye drops from your Consultant can be administered to alleviate any discomfort and manage inflammation from the laser.

There are many benefits of having laser treatment for glaucoma with us, including:

A member of our team can let you know more about the cost of your treatment with us.

Your payment will include the cost of treatment and any after-care appointments. Our flexible payment options mean you can spread the cost of your treatment across 10 to 60 months (around 5 years). You do not require a deposit for this.

If you decide to pay over a 10-month period, your treatment cost will not include interest. You can learn more about our flexible payment options here. 

Don’t delay glaucoma treatment.

Laser treatment can prevent your vision from deteriorating.

Speak to one of our eye specialists about receiving YAG laser treatment today by booking an appointment online or calling a member of our dedicated team on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in October 2021. Next review due October 2024.

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