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Improve Your Vision with Laser Surgery for Glaucoma

Diagram demonstrating how pressure builds up within the eye. Glaucoma is a condition in which pressure inside the eye increases enough to affect or even damage your vision. Although the condition is not curable, our doctors at Contemporary Ophthalmology of Erie in Erie, PA, offer laser surgery for glaucoma to relieve symptoms that do not respond to medication. Minimally invasive procedures such as selective laser trabeculoplasty and YAG iridotomy can ease the increased pressure that causes optical damage.

Understanding Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty

Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is designed to treat patients with open-angle glaucoma. The most common form of disease, open-angle glaucoma is caused by improper drainage from the eye. The increased pressure within the eye often damages the optic nerve.

Our doctors can repair this condition through an SLT by creating a more favorable drainage angle. As a result, fluid can flow more effectively and the pressure within the eye decreases substantially. One of the biggest advantages of SLT is its repeatability: surgeons can safely redo the procedure if pressure builds back up again. 

Although not suitable for everyone, laser eye surgery can significantly improve your quality of life. 

Most patients can return to their normal routines the day after surgery. However, patient compliance is crucial to successful treatment. SLT does not cure glaucoma: it simply minimizes the risk that results from severe symptoms. Consequently, you will need to continue your glaucoma medication after surgery and visit your ophthalmologist regularly.

About YAG Iridotomy

Performed with a YAG or Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet laser, a YAG iridotomy is usually recommended for patients with angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma. This condition occurs when the iris is too close to the drainage angle of the eye. In some cases, this can cause a rapid and acute blockage when the eye dilates. Certain refractive errors such as myopia can leave patients more vulnerable to this condition. Because untreated narrow-angle glaucoma can lead to permanent blindness, it is considered a medical emergency.

Patients should keep an eye out for symptoms such as:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rings or rainbow-colored halos around lights

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call our office right away.

To treat this condition, our doctors can perform an emergency YAG iridotomy to undo the effects of the blockages. With the laser, we can create a small hole in the iris to help fluid flow to the drainage angle properly.

Most patients experience only minimal discomfort following YAG iridotomy. Recovery is often quick and requires little to no downtime. Blurry vision is normal immediately after your procedure, but usually diminishes over the next several hours. If you experience a temporary increase in eye pressure, we can provide short-term eye drop therapy to reduce any risk. Typically, we will see you in about one week for your follow up appointment.

Are There Risks of Laser Treatment?

As with any medical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with laser eye surgery. However, our team of ophthalmologists take time with every patient to assess their unique situation and minimize any risk. We will only recommend surgical treatment options if we are confident that it will more effectively alleviate your symptoms than medication. During a consultation, we can evaluate your candidacy and design a personalized treatment plan to address your needs.

Reduce Your Risk Today

Although not suitable for everyone, laser eye surgery can significantly improve your quality of life. To learn more about the laser treatments we offer at Contemporary Ophthalmology of Erie, schedule a consultation with one of our doctors. Contact us online or call our office at (814) 838-9555.

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