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Cyclophotocoagulation for Glaucoma

What is it?

  • Cyclophotocoagulation (cy-klo-fo-toe-co-ag-u-LA-shun) is a type of laser surgery used to help control glaucoma (glaw-KO-muh). This surgery is done for people who already have eye damage caused by glaucoma. It may be done when medicines and other surgeries have not helped control your glaucoma. Glaucoma is an eye disease. A clear fluid flows through passages inside your eye all the time. With glaucoma, these passages get clogged or blocked. When this happens, fluid in your eye builds up and causes too much pressure inside the eye. Too much pressure against the optic nerve can lead to damage and loss of your vision (sight).
  • During surgery, your doctor will point a laser at the white part of your eye (sclera). The laser goes through the sclera to the ciliary (SIL-e-air-e) body. The ciliary body is the part of the eye that makes eye fluid. The laser damages parts of the ciliary body so that it will make less eye fluid. This surgery is usually done at a doctor's office or outpatient surgery clinic. Your eyes may feel sore and swollen after surgery, but that should go away in 1 to 2 weeks. You may also have blurred vision as your eyes heal. You may need this surgery more than once to get the ciliary body to make less eye fluid.
    Picture of a normal eye

Can this surgery help the type of glaucoma I have?

Cyclophotocoagulation may not work for every kind of glaucoma. Your eye doctor will do eye tests to understand more about your glaucoma. It is important that you understand what this kind of surgery can and cannot do for your sight. Good results from laser surgery vary from person to person. Ask your doctor questions if you are not sure you understand. Any vision you have lost because of glaucoma will not return, even with laser surgery. The following things affect the success of your laser surgery.

  • Your age.
  • How your eye is built, and the type of glaucoma you have.
  • If you have had surgery for glaucoma in the past.
  • If you have other diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes (di-uh-BE-tees).

What happens during cyclophotocoagulation?

  • You will be taken to a surgical room. A caregiver will wash the area around your eyes. You will be given eye drops and a shot to numb your eyes so you feel no pain. You may also be given medicine by mouth or through an IV to feel more relaxed. Before the surgery, caregivers help you get comfortable on a bed or in a special chair. A special pillow or face holder is used to keep your head still during surgery.
  • Your doctor will apply the laser light through your sclera to the ciliary body. The laser will damage parts of the ciliary body. After the laser treatment, you will be given eye drops or ointment to decrease inflammation (swelling and redness).


Contact the following organizations for more information about glaucoma and laser surgery:

  • Glaucoma Research Foundation
    251 Post St, Ste 600
    San Francisco , CA 94108
    Phone: 1- 415 - 986-3162
    Web Address:
  • International Glaucoma Association
    15 Highpoint Business Village
    Henwood Ashford, Kent , TN24 8DH
    Web Address:
  • The Glaucoma Foundation
    80 Maiden Lane, Ste 1206
    New York City , NY 10038
    Phone: 1- 212 - 285-0080
    Web Address:
  • Prevent Blindness America
    211 W. Wacker Dr, Ste 1700
    Chicago , IL 60606
    Phone: 1- 800 - 331-2020
    Web Address:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.