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12-02-2008, 01:29 PM
Laser Iridotomy and Narrow Angles

My eye doctor wants to perform a laser iridotomy on my eye because I have narrow angles. I donít have glaucoma, so why do I need to have this procedure done?
Dr. Stamper: Narrow angles may be a precursor to angle closure glaucoma, the kind of glaucoma that can have a sudden, painful onset or a slow unrelenting downhill course.
The best time to prevent the damage that angle closure glaucoma can cause is to treat it with a laser iridotomy before the actual disease sets in. This is preventative medicine at its best.
Although not everyone with narrow angles actually develops glaucoma, careful evaluation of the angle structure can identify who is at greatest risk. The angle structure is determined by an examination called gonioscopy which is performed with a special contact lens called a gonioprism.
It sounds as if your doctor is trying to save you from the risk of acute angle closure glaucoma. A more detailed discussion of this condition and laser iridotomy can be found in the Glaucoma Research Foundationís excellent booklet, Understanding and Living With Glaucoma (http://www.glaucoma.org/learn/literature.php)
Robert L. Stamper, MD is a Director of Glaucoma Service at University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the Glaucoma Research Foundation Board of Directors.