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Laser Surgery for Glaucoma


Laser surgery for glaucoma is a procedure to open your eye drainage system, or create a new drainage system. Glaucoma is caused by fluid buildup behind the eye. This surgery helps decrease eye pressure and slow or prevent further damage and vision loss. You may have surgery on one or both eyes.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

During your surgery:

You will be given eyedrops to numb your eye. You will sit in a chair in front of a slit lamp. A slit lamp is the instrument healthcare providers use to look in your eye. The laser machine is attached to the slit lamp. Your healthcare provider may use a face holder to help keep your head still during surgery. He will put a special contact lens on your eye to aim the laser on the areas to be treated. During the procedure, you will see flashes of colored light. Laser surgery may be done more than once. You may have one of the following types of laser surgery:

  • Laser trabeculoplasty: Your healthcare provider will use the laser to open clogged areas of your eye drainage system. This will help fluid drain from your eye and decrease pressure.
  • Laser iridotomy: Your healthcare provider will give you eyedrops to make your pupil small. He will use the laser to make a tiny hole in your iris. The iris is the colored part of your eye. This will allow fluid to drain from your eye and decrease pressure.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room where you can rest after your surgery. Your healthcare provider will check your eye pressure. You will be able to go home when your healthcare provider says it is okay. An adult should stay with you for at least 24 hours after surgery. You may get any of the following:

  • Eyedrops or ointment: These help decrease inflammation after surgery. They also help decrease eye pressure and help your eye heal.
  • Antibiotics: These help fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.


You may get an infection and your eye may bleed. Your eye pressure may not get better and could become worse. Your vision may be worse than before the surgery. You may not be able to have another laser surgery for your glaucoma. You may develop cataracts (cloudy, dark vision) after laser surgery.


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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Learn more about Laser Surgery for Glaucoma (Inpatient Care)

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