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YAG Laser Iridotomy

If your eye doctor recently found problems with your eye’s ability to drain fluid, you have a few treatment options available, including yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) laser iridotomy. If you’re considering this procedure, learn more about it first.

Woman with recent cataracts surgery improving her eyesight.

What is YAG Laser Iridotomy?

Laser iridotomy is a procedure that uses a YAG laser to create a microscopic hole in the outer rim of the iris or the colored part of the eye. This opening, called an iridotomy, acts as a release valve to allow fluid to flow between the anterior chamber (the front part of the eye) and the posterior chamber (the area behind the iris).

A YAG laser iridotomy is a treatment for anatomically narrow angles, a condition that affects your eye’s ability to drain fluid. Similar to inflating a basketball with too much air, lack of drainage can result in increased eye pressure. Having anatomically narrow angles puts you at risk for acute closed-angle glaucoma.

Laser iridotomy may be recommended if the medicine has failed to bring your eye pressure down. The procedure may be necessary to prevent closed-angle glaucoma, which can cause eye pain and vision loss.

What Happens During a YAG Laser Iridotomy?

Admission to the hospital is not necessary to have a laser iridotomy. In fact, we can perform the procedure right here at Holt Eye Clinic in Hot Springs. You are awake during the iridotomy, and your eye is numbed for the procedure and you will receive an eye drop to constrict the pupil.  The entire process only takes a few minutes, though you’ll need to stay in the office for a bit so we can reassess your eye pressure before you go home.

There is no recovery time following a laser iridotomy, though your vision may be blurry for a few minutes afterward. You may also experience sensitivity to light for a few days, but prescription eye drops help with this symptom. You’ll also need to use anti-inflammatory eye drops for several days following the procedure. A follow-up exam in one to two weeks is necessary to ensure the pressure in your eye is decreasing and that you aren’t experiencing any rare side effects, such as glare or halo.

Benefits of Having a YAG Laser Iridotomy

You may hesitate to undergo a laser treatment for anatomically narrow angles, but if you decide this low-risk procedure is right for you, count on these benefits:

  • Reduced risk of vision loss from glaucoma
  • Possibly reduced need to take glaucoma medicine
  • When used at an early stage, you have up to a 75% chance of curing your condition
  • When used at a later stage, you can slow or completely stop the progression of glaucoma

Schedule YAG Laser Iridotomy Consultation at Holt Eye Clinic

Whether you’re certain you want to undergo a YAG laser iridotomy or you still have questions, contact our eye doctor in Hot Springs today at 501-624-0609. At your first appointment, we’ll discuss your options so you feel comfortable with whatever glaucoma treatment you decide to pursue.

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