Laser Eye Surgery for Glaucoma San Diego
Glaucoma occurs when fluid produced in the eye is unable to exit the eye through the trabecular meshwork in the drainage angle. As a result, the fluid builds up and the intraocular pressure rises, threatening to damage the optic nerve. Although glaucoma cannot be completely cured, and any vision lost to the disease cannot be recovered, laser therapy is a great way to stop further damage.
Laser glaucoma surgery is designed to help fluid drain from the eye to stabilize intraocular pressure. It is often recommended when eyedrops fail to produce the desired effects, although sometimes it is suggested as an initial treatment. At California Retina Associates, our San Diego glaucoma treatment team offers a few different laser surgeries.
Laser trabeculoplasty is designed for cases of open-angle glaucoma, where the drainage angle is clogged but not completely closed. A special laser is applied to the drainage tissue in the eye, located where the iris and the cornea meet. The laser creates chemical and biological changes in the tissue that help fluid exit the eye. As a result, intraocular pressure should lower over the next few months.
We can use a few different lasers to perform trabeculoplasty: a selective laser, or a “cold” laser, is only taken up by selected pigmented tissue in the eye while leaving the rest of the tissue intact. There is less scar tissue and minimal pain with selective laser trabeculoplasty. Another option is Argon laser trabeculoplasty, which uses a thermal laser and may cause small scars in the drainage angle. Both selective laser trabeculoplasty and Argon laser trabeculoplasty have comparable results when lowering intraocular pressure.
Laser iridotomy is another effective way to lower intraocular pressure and prevent vision loss. It is typically recommended in cases of angle-closure glaucoma, where the drainage angle has completely closed. The procedure uses a focused beam of light to create a pinhead-sized opening in the iris, through which fluid can exit the eye.
What Happens During Laser Glaucoma Surgery?
Generally laser glaucoma surgery is performed in one of our state-of-the-art surgery centers or a hospital setting. First, the eye is numbed to prevent any pain or discomfort during treatment. A special contact lens will be held up to the eye, and the laser beam will be directed through the lens into the eye. As the laser is aimed at the eye, a light may flash, similar to the flash of a camera.
Patients can normally resume their regular activities the day after treatment. The eyes may be slightly irritated and vision may be blurry for a few days. The side effects should subside quickly.
Talk to Our San Diego Glaucoma Team
Laser surgery could play an important part of treating your glaucoma. Our internationally renowned glaucoma experts can sit down with you to discuss your circumstances, lay out your options and decide whether laser surgery is the best choice for your case.