Laser Peripheral Iridotomy

What is laserperipheral Iridotomy?

An iridotomy is a small hole created with a laser beam in the peripheral part of the iris (coloured part of the eye).

A laser peripheral iridotomy is performed to treat or prevent a sudden rise in pressure inside the eye (acute glaucoma). A sustained rise in pressure can cause a permanent loss of side and central vision.

The iridotomy allows fluid to circulate freely within the eye minimising the risk of a rise in sight threatening pressure.

There are three reasons for this procedure:

i. To prevent an attack of acute glaucoma
ii. To treat an attack of acute glaucoma
iii. To treat chronic glaucoma where the drainage channel is very narrow.

This laser procedure is performed to preserve sight. It will not restore or improve sight.


Complications are uncommon. The most common complications are a rise in pressure and some inflammation shortly after the treatment. The pressure will be checked before you go home and if very high, you will need extra treatment in the form of drops, tablets or in some cases an injection. You will also need to remain in the N2S eye clinic until the pressure has dropped to a safe level.

Other risks include:

• Bleeding in the front of the iris;
• Clouding of the cornea (window) of the eye;
• Cataract.

The day of your treatment

The treatment takes approximately 15 minutes but please allow for a stay of one to two hours. Your treatment will be carried out in the N2S eye clinic. On arrival the surgeon will explain the procedure, ask you to sign a consent form and numb the eye with drops. The procedure is performed with the patient sitting and resting their chin on an instrument similar to that used during an eye examination. A contact lens is placed on the eye to steady it and focus the laser beam. There will be some bright flashes of light, a clicking noise and there could be some slight discomfort.

After your treatment

Your eye may become pink and sore and the vision is often disturbed for the rest of the day. For this reason patients are strongly advised not to drive home. Apart from driving, normal activities can be resumed immediately. Additional medication will be prescribed for a week to prevent inflammation and a rise in pressure. All anti-glaucoma medication should continue to be taken unless specifically instructed otherwise.

An appointment will be made for a check-up in the N2S eye clinic shortly afterwards. A small number of patients will require more than one laser procedure.