My 75 year old mother has glaucoma. I have read on the internet that YAG laser treatment might help with this. I don’t know much about it though. What actually is it and how would we be able to find out if it would be suitable for my mother?
Mr Tim Dabbs, Consultant Ophthalmologist:
The type of glaucoma that your mother is suffering with will determine the value of YAG (Yttrium- Aluminium - Garnet) laser. The most common form of glaucoma (chronic simple or open angle) does not usually benefit from YAG laser. Angle closure glaucoma which often causes abrupt and painful loss of vision is the condition in which YAG laser is most useful. This disorder is due to abnormal crowding of the structures in the front part of the eye (the iris and lens) and leads to interference with the normal flows of fluid inside the eye and very high internal pressure develops as a result. The YAG laser creates a microscopic beam of infra red light energy. This is focused through a special treatment contact lens and can painlessly create a pathway for fluid by producing a small gap in the iris called an iridotomy.
This process aims to relieve the obstruction to fluid flows and reduces the pressure in the eye.
The procedure is undertaken on an out-patient basis and requires only local anaesthetic drops.
Identification of the exact cause of the glaucoma is necessary and is best carried out by examination by a consultant ophthalmologist. The appropriate treatment can then be selected and administered safely.