I recently had my 3rd iridotomy, no I don’t have 3 eyes. Apparently the first hole in my right eye closed, so back to the eye Dr. I went to have it opened back up. Or maybe they just put another hole next to the first, I should of asked. I do know that having blue eyes helps the Dr. see the blood vessels. My Doc says that it makes it easier not to hit a blood vessel when he uses the laser. Yippy! A real bonus for having blue eyes.
If you read my post glaucoma ~ just poke me in the eye or the update then you know that I have glaucoma. To treat my glaucoma I get a procedure called SLT or Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty. I don’t have to use expensive and irritating eye drops, at least not yet, hopefully never.
About 6 months ago my Dr. told me my angles are narrow and I should have an iridotomy. My first thought was great another eye surgery. Then I thought, why do I need this. My eye pressure was with-in normal limits for me. Did my angles just get narrow? Or have they always been narrow. Is he (my Dr.) making this stuff up. Is this a new theory put out by the laser companies so they could make more money? I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to have this preventative procedure done. Is it really going to make a difference in my long term eye health and vision?
I researched everything I could find, and decided it was probably a good idea (for me) to have the iridotomy done. Remember you should do your own research to see if it is right for you. I may never know for sure if I really needed to have it done, but I didn’t really want to find out the hard way. I also had to remember that with every surgery there can be bad side effects, and in this case the worse thing is I would be blind. I have faith and trust in my Doctors knowledge and skills so I trusted his recommendation.
What is a preventative Laser Iridotomy
Having an iridotomy when you have “narrow angles” is a procedure to help prevent a sudden increase in eye pressure. I think of “narrow angles” kind of like a hose being bent so the water can’t get through. The rapid increase in pressure causes severe pain, and can make you go blind in a matter of hours if not treated.
Laser iridotomy uses a very focused beam of light to create a hole on the outer edge, or rim, of the iris, the colored part of the eye.
My Personal Experience
I’m sitting in the hallway of the laser surgery suite at my eye doctor. My eye has been numbed and I am trying to stay calm. Boy that numbing medicine burns at first. There are 4 other people waiting as well. We’re all looking at each other making quiet nervous chit chat. All of us seemed to have glaucoma. All of us had been to this room before.
The first person goes in and the door shuts. About 7 minutes later they walk out with a Kleenex in hand. Oh boy, it’s my turn now. I go in and another drop is put into my eye. Then the CONTACT, at least that is what they call it. They put this thing in your eye to hold the lid open and make the part of your eye they need visible. The only reason the contact weirds me out a little is because I have seen it used on other people in the past. It makes your eye nice and big. You can feel the DR. moving the contact around but it doesn’t really hurt it just feels funny (at least that is my experience).
The next thing you do is put your chin on a chin rest and your forehead against a forehead rest. The assistant holds the back of your head so you don’t pull away or move. I’m always worried I’m going to move my eye in the wrong way and they will zap the wrong part. Thank goodness that has never happened to me yet.
Now my heart starts to pick up speed and I’m thinking let’s just get this thing over with. I stare at the red or was it green light and zap, zap, zap. It’s over.
My Doc puts in another drop, this time a steroid to help with inflammation. I will continue this for 5 days 3 times a day. I stand up and take a deep breath. I’m handed a tissue for my tearing eye and I walk out the door with my post-op instructions.
I suggest having someone drive you. It feels good right after just to close and rest your eyes. I had no trouble with my vision and no real pain just a slight uncomfortable sensation.
To this day, oh gosh, it has been around 3 months since the repeat iridotomy and I’ve had no problems that I’m aware of. My pressure remained the same or lower. My eyes have always been very sensitive to light and glare so I can’t tell if it’s any worse or it’s just normal for me.
My words for you
Always do your own research to find out more about any surgical procedure. Ask your Doctor as many questions as you want and need answered. It’s their job to answer your questions.
The greatest risk of laser iridotomy is an increase in intraocular pressure. Usually, the IOP spike is transient and of concern to the surgeon only during the first 24 hours after surgery. Encyclopedia of Surgery “iridotomy“
Your physical health can be a factor with how well you will respond to the surgery. Especially if you have diabetes, hypertension, bleeding disorders etc.
Other iridotomy surgery risks include:
Trouble with Glare
horizontal lines in your vision
loss of vision
I hope this blog and my experience will help you or someone you love be more informed so you can make a better decision. Remember this is my personal experience and your experience can be much different. This surgery in a way is very quick and easy, but can have some very negative outcomes if not done correctly or your body reacts badly.
Feel free to leave a comment about your experience, the good and the bad. I would personally like to know how others responded to their iridotomy. Your experience may help others make their decision about having this procedure.