What Can I Do About the Side Effects of an Iridotomy?

April 27, 2010

I had laser surgery 10 months ago. An iridotomy was done to my eyes, because I have narrow angles. During and after the procedure I was in great pain, but the pain stopped 3 days later. Ever since the surgery I see a broad fluorescent white line in the middle of my vision, which drives me crazy. Besides, I have double vision and am extremely sensitive to light. My IOP was 15/16 before surgery and is now around 30. I now need glaucoma drops, which I didn’t need before. My visual acuity dropped from 20/20 in both eyes to 20/80 in my left eye and 20/100 in my right eye.

Is there any chance that the white line, the double vision, and the glare will eventually go away, that my visual acuity will improve and that my IOP will come down? My doctor says sometimes iridotomies have these side effects and I have to put up with it. Why didn’t he tell me before he performed the iridotomies? I am absolutely desperate. I lost my job because of my poor vision after the surgery. Can anyone help me?




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58 Responses to “What Can I Do About the Side Effects of an Iridotomy?”

  1. wiscskis on December 28th, 2013 12:39 pm

    I had the same laser iridotomy done to both my eyes. was scheduled for one, but due to extensive travel for work, it was more advantageous for me to have both done together. From a university hospital in a large city, I have been very confident in their doctors/specialists, so there was no reason to question the qualifications of this specialist. In fact, I checked credentials and even patient ratings and it was exemplary. I was told by this doctor that he has done thousands of these procedures and that it is very routine, much like many of these comments note. I WAS NOT told of the possible and debilitating side effects. This was supposed to be completely routine. The day following the procedure I was traveling, driving my car, and had distinct bright white lines across my field of vision in both eyes. I immediately contacted my doctor to be seen. He told me he has never heard of or encountered such a side effect AND he didn’t have a clue what to expect. Ding, ding, ding……what kind of professional was this, from a university hospital, who has no knowledge of these side effects? You put your faith in professionals to be up to date on their field. You’d think that, since there are studies and publications on these potential side effects dating back to 2005, it would be well-known that there are potential results such as mentioned! I now have headaches every day, also. This is not acceptable. I realize this is a critical procedure if you are at risk for a glaucoma attack, but at the very least there should have been discussion of the potential for white lines if the hole is not correctly placed under the eyelid, and I would have had the chance to locate a specialist who is capable and has an excellent success rate for properly placing the hole in your eyes. Folks, these are the only set of eyes you get. Beware.

  2. ari on January 2nd, 2014 3:38 pm

    i think he meant he never saw this complication. of course he was aware of it- its very very basic.
    there is no way to guarantee absence of symptoms- every patient is different, and there are reports of side effects no matter where the iridotomy is placed. i think its better to place them at 3/9 oclock, but thats no guarantee.
    lastly, no normal person would decline iridotomy for the low risk of side effects. its like not flying in an airplane as it may crash. so dont beat yourself up over your decision- it was the right one

  3. jo on February 17th, 2014 11:19 am

    After suffering the painful symptoms of partial closure attacks multiple times over several years – the pain and nausea usually occurred at night, resolving by the time I arrived at the doctor. My new eye doctor identified the narrow angles. I was frightened about the severe side effects many have noted, although my doctor said he had never seen such problems (performed 1000’s of procedures). I got 3 opinions, and had the procedure done on each eye (3 and 9 o’clock) Now, 2 years later, I no longer have those painful partial closure attacks. I have slowly developed a small amount of double vision in each eye, which occurs in the evening (fatigue?) and is corrected when I put my glasses on. Was it worth it? Yes – for peace of mind, & relief from pain. I work in a hospital and witnessed a patient having a full blown attack – the medical management did not prevent him from losing his eye sight.

  4. ari on February 26th, 2014 2:40 pm

    you are 100% correct

  5. Joann Klucsarits on March 4th, 2014 1:56 pm

    My 91 year old father is scheduled for a iridotony on Friday. I am concerned about the side effects and how his age may affect his recovery/side effects. He has had glaucoma since his 50’s but it was controlled with drops. Since I was out of town when he was scheduled for his consultation with the ophthalmologist , my brother took him and I am not sure that he and my dad asked all the important questions. His condition is not acute and right now he is asymptotic. They plan to use the procedure on his “good” eye, but it sounds like they will then schedule a second procedure in the next few weeks. Also, this will be done at a VA facility. Please, any advice, especially from older patients, would be appreciated.

  6. Sherry on March 9th, 2014 9:48 am

    I had a laser iridotomy of my left eye in January and had no side effects afterwards. However, I returned six weeks later to have my right eye iridotomy performed and have been in pain for several days post-procedure. I had to call the on-call doctor on a Sunday morning and he told me to go to an emergency clinic. How would I drive myself to an emergency clinic? I had enough hard time getting someone to take me to the doctor appointment which is only two miles away. The doctor said I could be suffering from a corneal laceration and phoned in some bacitracin ophthalmic ointment. Hopefully, that will help with the pain. It is possible that the cornea could have been scratched during this procedure. I am only 56 years old and too young to lose my vision. I chose to have the procedure done in order to preserve my vision. If I just have to tolerate the pain for a few more days, I guess it was worth it.

  7. Sherry on March 11th, 2014 5:56 pm

    I had an LPI (laser peripheral iridotomy) performed on my left eye in January with no ill effects afterward. I then had the same procedure done on my right eye and experienced a stronger “jolt” from the laser than I did the last time. I have had severe headaches and had to be seen four (4) days post-surgery. I can’t sleep because the pain in my temples wakes me up. A different doctor (from the same practice) checked my right eye after my complaint and stated I had a corneal abrasion, which can be quite painful. Hopefully, the pain will subside in the next few days. I will see my doctor for follow-up in ten more days.

  8. Pat on July 22nd, 2014 2:40 pm

    I just had iridotomy performed on both eyes for high pressure & closed angles ….2 weeks ago & 1 week ago. Minor pain after the surgery that night with slight headache . I have mild light sensitivity in the sun & slight blurred vision in one eye. Considering the long term effects of having a glaucoma attack, this is a great outcome. I would have it done again if needed . I went to Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI) Ohio in Blue Ash & Dr Cohen performed the surgery. I highly recommend the facility & surgeons.
    I hope this helps with some positive feedback . Good luck to all. Pat

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