The iris and the cornea meet at a structure called the ‘angle.’ All eyes produce fluid, which is subsequently drained through the angle. Blockage of the angle prevents fluid from exiting the eye, causing the eye pressure to rise.
Some individuals have angles which are narrow. If the angle is critically narrow, it may close spontaneously. If this occurs, the eye pressure rises dramatically and patients develop Angle Closure Glaucoma, a condition which is painful, and can cause severe vision loss.
If your eye doctor identifies angles that are critically narrow, Angle Closure Glaucoma can be prevented by laser treatment. The laser produces a small hole, called an iridotomy, in the iris. This allows fluid to drain more normally, preventing further angle narrowing.
The treatment is a brief and painless office procedure. Topical anesthesia is applied and a contact lens is placed against the eye to focus the laser. When the laser is applied to the iris, a brief pinching sensation is often felt. The prodedure usually takes a few minutes. Temporary irritation and blurring after the procedure are common.
The procedure is very safe. Occasionally, the eye may become inflamed, bleeding may occur, and the eye pressure may rise. All of which, may be treated with drops. There is also a slight chance of increased glare, or double vision. In rare cases, angle closure can still occur despite laser iridotomy.