Laser Peripheral Iridotomy


Laser peripheral Iridotomy or PI is performed on patients who have acute angle closure glaucoma. It will also correct patients with the problem of narrow angle vision. A patient has narrow angles when the aqueous fluid is not allowing the fluid to drain because of a bowed iris.

The fluid normally escapes the eye by flowing between the lens and the iris. The trabecular meshwork found where the cornea meets the iris and allows the fluid to drain. If the iris is bowed, the fluid will not drain.

Alternative Surgery for Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma

Laser peripheral Iridotomy surgery involves creating a small hole in the peripheral iris. This allows the fluid to flow from behind the iris directly to the outer chamber of the eye. This normally will take care of the bowed iris. This surgery is easily done in the office of the surgeon, or as an outpatient procedure.

The pupil is normally constricted with special eye drops, the head is positioned, and the procedure completed with a laser beam. Normally this does not require any sedation. Topical anesthetic drops may be applied to better control the laser beam.

This procedure takes only minutes to complete. Eye drops may be needed to keep the eye from becoming inflamed after surgery. You will normally stop using these eye drops after a few days.

There have been questions about this surgery and if its good for reversing glaucoma. It is not a procedure that will do that. It may be used to help treat the symptoms of glaucoma but will not cure the problem. The goal of this procedure may be to prevent developing glaucoma; the surgeon will make the decision on whether this surgery will be helpful for glaucoma patients.

Painless and Quick

The surgery is normally not painful. A topical anesthetic is used but the iris of the eye is not numbed. There may be some mild discomfort when the laser beam touches the iris. Normally there are just brief moments of slight discomfort and no discomfort after the surgery in most of the cases.

As with any surgery there are some risks involved. Inflammation and infection, bleeding in the eye, and inflammation may occur. Any potential complications may be treated with eye drops the surgeon will prescribe.

Our eyes are an important part of our lives. We should do everything we can to protect them, treat them, and wear prescription glasses or contact lenses when necessary. Patients with eye problems need to have their eyes examined yearly and at the bare minimum every two years.

With the exam, you may be asked if you want to be tested for glaucoma. This test may add a little more cost to your exam but well worth it. Glaucoma that is detected early will have a better chance of responding to treatment.

Laser peripheral Iridotomy is a useful tool in treating glaucoma and other related drainage problems in the eye. Your eye doctor will help you decide if this surgery will be worthwhile to you and your vision problems.

Image: Wellcome Images