Narrow-angle glaucoma occurs when the angle between the cornea (the clear window of the eye) and the iris (the colored portion of the eye) is narrow, which is usually the result of having a small eye. The drain for fluid outflow is located at this angle. With a narrow-angle, the movement of fluid within the eye will push the iris into the drain, causing a blockage of fluid outflow. It is important to treat narrow-angle glaucoma before the iris completely blocks the drain. Once this type of glaucoma is diagnosed, treatment is recommended as soon as possible. Narrow-angle glaucoma is almost always treated with laser.
In narrow-angle glaucoma, the laser is used to make a microscopic opening in the iris, call an iridotomy. This opening permits an easier flow of fluid from the back to the front of the eye allowing the iris to move away from the drain. This laser successfully eliminates the problem in the majority of cases.
The eye will be anesthetized with drops before the procedure is started so there is minimal if any, discomfort to the patient. Most patients do not complain of pain during the procedure. Laser therapy usually takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Individuals with a brown iris (a brown iris is thicker) generally require more treatment to produce the desired opening for narrow-angle glaucoma.
After Laser Therapy
Immediately following the procedure, you may receive drops in your eyes to help stabilize and comfort the eye. You should know that your eye may be slightly red, mildly irritated and the vision blurred for approximately 1 to 2 days following your treatment. The eye pressure can be somewhat unstable after laser therapy because of the surgery itself.
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Meet Your Glaucoma Care Specialists
Amy Z. Martino, MD completed her glaucoma fellowship at the world-renowned Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami Health System and School of Medicine, the #1 eye hospital and vision research center in the country. She was the first doctor in Hillsborough County to implant the Hydrus microstent for glaucoma and one of the first surgeons in Florida selected to implant the glaucoma iStent® device, the world’s smallest medical implant. Her surgical talents include glaucoma lasers and specialized glaucoma surgeries (such as trabeculectomies and glaucoma drainage devices). Dr. Martino is also a staff physician at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, where she takes pride in serving those who have served our country. As a graduate of the University of South Florida, she enjoys giving lectures to the current ophthalmology residents. She volunteers her time through the Eye Care America program and Catholic Charities Medical Missions to help underprivileged patients receive eye care.