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by Dr Maria Hannah Pia de Guzman

Various laser techniques can be used to treat, prevent, or mitigate glaucoma. No single technique works for all glaucoma patients. The applicable technique depends on the type of and stage of the glaucoma. Iridotomy is used to widen a narrow angle or open a closed angle by reducing the pressure that is pushing the iris forward towards the trabecular meshwork. Iridoplasty is used to widen a narrow angle or open a closed angle by forcing the iris away from the meshwork. Trabeculoplasty is a treatment applied to the trabecular meshwork to stimulate it into draining fluid more efficiently. It can only be done through an open angle. Cyclophotocoagulation is usually used for advanced or end-stage glaucoma. It causes partial destruction of the ciliary body (the eye structure that produces intraocular fluid) to reduce fluid production. Laser suture lysis is used to adjust fluid flow after the glaucoma operation called trabculectomy.

As with all types of glaucoma treatment, laser treatment does not cure the disease but only controls it or prevents progression. Laser treatment may need to be combined with other types of treatment. The patient still needs lifelong monitoring even after successful laser treatment.