Laser glaucoma surgery: iridotomy and angle treatment

Take Home Points

Preceding sections mentioned where laser treatment fits into decision-making in the treatment of open angle glaucoma (see section What treatments are the right ones? Drops, laser, scissors) and angle closure glaucoma (see sections Why isn’t glaucoma either there or not there? - What makes you an angle closure suspect? and Acute angle closure crisis). We will now consider what it’s like to go through the procedures, a laser iris hole or laser angle treatment.

Probably every reader has signed an informed consent form for a procedure at some point. Did you read it? Did you have any questions answered? Were you sure that the benefits of the procedure outweighed the risks? For laser interventions and surgical procedures, it is in your best interest to be sure that you did these things before going ahead. Patients will often say to me that they don’t want to have a procedure because they are afraid of the complications. That’s a very understandable feeling. But, we have two risks to consider: the risk of the procedure and the risk of what may happen to you now from the disease itself if you don’t have the procedure. How big are these compared to each other? That’s the thing that should make up your mind as to whether to sign and go ahead. It’s the doctor’s job to explain both risks to you, and to outline the benefits of the procedure (and the benefits of not having it).

For the laser treatments to be considered in this section, the risks are very low, but we can never say they are zero. Listen carefully and ask all the questions you and your family can think of. Write down what you want to ask at home and bring in your list of questions.

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