Skip to Content

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:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • You may need to see your eye doctor 1 to 4 days before the surgery for a complete eye exam.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Do not drink alcohol for 48 hours before surgery.

The day of your surgery:

  • Use your eyedrops and other medicines as directed. Bring your medicines with you to your surgery.
  • Do not wear contact lenses, earrings, or hearing aids.
  • Do not wear makeup or lotion on your face.
  • You may eat a light meal before your laser treatment. Avoid heavy or greasy foods.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.


What will happen:

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 treatment, 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:

Your healthcare provider will put eyedrops or ointment in your eye to decrease inflammation. He will check your eye pressure. You will be taken to a room where you can rest after your surgery. 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 have a fever.
  • You cannot make it to your surgery on time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have severe eye pain.
  • You have a sudden change in your vision.


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.

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

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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 (Precare)

IBM Watson Micromedex