Laser procedures

Frequently asked questions regarding laser procedures answered

 

I was told I have ‘narrow angles’ by my optometrist. What does this mean? How does it cause problems in the eye?

‘Narrow angles’ means that the area between your iris (coloured part of the eye) and the cornea (clear part of the eye) is more narrow than normal. This may impact the drainage system in the eye and can cause high eye pressure, which can lead to glaucoma.

 

What causes narrow angles?

Narrow angles can be caused by anatomical conditions (e.g. having a shorter eye than to normal), or being far sighted (hyperopic), or a growing cataract, or less commonly by inflammatory conditions (e.g. uveitis).

 

What is laser peripheral iridotomy?

Laser peripheral iridotomy (PI) is a quick procedure that creates a small hole in the iris that helps with the fluid flow inside of the eye. It is suitable for patients who have a specific type of glaucoma (angle closure) or are at risk of developing angle closure.

 

What is SLT?

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a type of laser procedure used to lower eye pressure.

 

Why do I need laser? Why can’t I use eye drops? Or do I still have to use drops?

Sometimes, eye drops alone are not enough to lower eye pressure. This is why laser can be suggested. Most of the time you will have to continue to use glaucoma drops after laser treatment. Ultimately the doctor will make the decision depending on your situation.

 

Can the effects of  SLT wear off?

Yes, which is why it is important to have regular appointments. The doctor needs to monitor your eye pressure and how the drainage system within your eye is working. If the effect wears off, laser can be repeated depending on the doctor’s decision.

 

Will SLT and PI improve my vision?

No, the aim of these laser treatments is to maintain a healthy eye pressure.

 

What is Posterior Capsular Opacification (PCO)? How is it treated?

Months to many years after cataract surgery, the capsular bag in which the artificial lens sits in can become cloudy and cause sensitivity to glare and blurred vision. This is called PCO and is easily treated with YAG laser capsulotomy, a type of laser treatment.

 

Is there an alternative treatment besides laser for PCO?

Besides leaving the PCO untreated, YAG laser capsulotomy is the most commonly suggested option.

 

How long do these laser procedures take?

Although laser treatments are quick and take 5-10 minutes, expect to be in the clinic for around an hour. Thorough assessments are performed prior by the orthoptist and ophthalmologist. Additionally, eye drops will be used and can take up to 30 minutes to take effect.

 

What do I need to do to prepare for laser treatment?

Do not apply makeup on your eyes the day of surgery and keep your face as clean as possible. Regular drops can be used as normal unless instructed otherwise by the doctor. You can eat and drink as normal before any laser treatment. A driver is recommended to bring you to and from your appointment.

 

What happens after the laser procedure?

You may be given some drops to reduce inflammation in the eye. Side effects can include discomfort such as short-term grittiness, blurred vision for several hours, or a headache. If worried please contact Dr Kam. Wearing sunglasses on your way home is recommended. A follow up appointment is required to ensure the monitor the effects of treatment.

 

How do I make an appointment to see Dr Kam to discuss laser treatment in more detail?

Our reception is open Monday to Friday 9:00-17:00 and on Saturdays 9:00-13:00. Please call us anytime during these hours. Our phone number is (03) 8586 1288. Visit our contact page for more details on how to contact us.