Laser Surgery for Glaucoma

Although medication treatment is helpful for most glaucoma patients, laser surgery can be very effective because no cutting is involved. If you think you may need eye surgery to control your glaucoma, get in touch with Elmquist Eye Group to discuss your treatment options.

E. Trevor Elmquist, DO, is an experienced ophthalmologist and surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He and the team at Elmquist Eye Group have served Cape Coral and Fort Myers since 1992.

Laser Surgery for GlaucomaDr. Elmquist is also one of America’s Top Doctors in Ophthalmology, a guide that identifies the nation’s best doctors in every medical specialty and represents the top 1% of doctors in the nation.

Dr. Elmquist’s partner, Kate Wagner, OD, and his associate, Nina Burt, OD, are both board certified optometrists and provide a complete range of eye care services.  We have the ability and expertise to care for anyone in your family from children to seniors.

Our state-of-the-art facilities are equipped with the latest in diagnostic and laser technology and our commitment to high-quality care sets us apart. After a comprehensive dilated eye exam and diagnostic testing, Dr. Elmquist, Dr. Wagner, or Dr. Burt will determine whether or not you are a good candidate for glaucoma surgery.

Glaucoma Laser Surgery

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, usually because the fluid pressure inside the eye is too high. However, this is not always the case; some people have normal fluid pressure but still get glaucoma.

Damage caused to the optic nerve by glaucoma cannot usually be reversed. Eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery and conventional surgery in an operating room are the typical methods of preventing further damage.

Laser surgery for glaucoma may be used alone or in addition to medications. The most common laser surgeries are:

Laser Trabeculoplasty.  This is the most common laser surgery for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma. The laser is used to open up the mesh-like pathway that allows fluid to drain from the eye and reduce intraocular pressure. It involves minimal discomfort and is usually completed in less than 15 minutes with topical anesthetic eye drops.

Laser trabeculoplasty can be helpful for patients who experience side effects from glaucoma eye drops or whose glaucoma is not adequately controlled with medication alone. The treatment is usually not permanent, but the beneficial effects from the laser treatment may last for several years. The laser surgery may need to be repeated but is often not as effective after the second treatment.

Laser Iridotomy.  For closed-angle glaucoma, laser iridotomy, also called peripheral iridotomy, is often performed before medication treatment or conventional surgery for people who have narrow drainage angles or have had closed-angle glaucoma in only one eye. It is also used to treat closed-angle glaucoma once the pressure in the affected eye has been lowered with medication or when medications have failed.

The surgeon focuses the laser beam to make small changes in the colored part of the eye (the iris). This causes the iris to move away from the drainage angle it is blocking, and the aqueous fluid can resume draining normally. Laser iridotomy is typically painless and takes 5 to 15 minutes.

As with all types of surgery, complications are possible and long-term success rates may vary. However, because laser surgeries do not involve cutting, there may be a lower chance of complications compared to conventional glaucoma surgery.

To discuss laser surgery and other treatments for glaucoma with Dr. Elmquist, Dr. Wagner or Dr. Burt, schedule an appointment at Elmquist Eye Group by calling (239) 936-2020.