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

  • Holly Ciryak

    I recently had the iridotomy surgey done in both eyes ( 2 weeks apart), due to being told I had narrow angles. I was also told it was a simple surgery, that it would take about 5 minutes, and I may experience a slight headache afterwords. No other side effects were discussed.

    After surgery my left eye has experienced 2 white lines at the bottom of my vision when I blink. I spoke to the doctors assistances and they seemed oblivious to what I was talking about ( big red sign) especially when I was able to pull up the symptom on the website in minutes of researching it. It is definitely a side effect from the surgery. The doctor seemed unphased and said it would lessen in time. He never said the possibilities of why it occurred.

    I noticed after having the second eye done it was less painful and the surgery felt different ( as if the hole was placed at the 3-9 position). I have a tiny bit of blurriness in my right eye, but nothing else to report.
    I am 53 years old and began to wonder if I just had a preventative surgery for narrow angles that I could of waited on doing to preserve the decent eyesight I still had? It is hard to say if I did the right thing, but given the information of narrow angles and what could happen in the future, I probably would of done the procedure again.

    Just make sure you have a very good eye doctor. And ask a lot of questions. They should be upfront with the side effects and allow you to make the decision if the surgery is right for you or if there is alternatives for the time being.

    My doctor said everything looked good, my eye pressure was perfect and rob come back in 6 months with a follow up. I was disappointed he didn’t want a checkup sooner since I was having these side effects. However, I will see if things get better in the coming months with the white lines in my left eye, and slight ( occasional) blurriness in the right). I did not experience the headaches that others were talking about. I felt fine. All in all the surgery was painless and I hope the surgery preserves my eyesight in the coming years.

  • Erwin

    I had PIOL (intraocular lenses) implanted on top of my iris one month ago.

    As it seems to be common practice, i got iridotomy done on both eyes.
    In bright light or using a TV, Computer or Smartphone in a darker room (high contrast setting), i have 2 “flares” moving up and down near my nose (similar to lines reported by others). They are in sync with moving my eyelid.

    Also they are exactly point-symmetrical to the position of the iridotomy-hole.
    So don’t even come up with the answer, that they are not related to each other. I know basic geometry and optics 😉

    I can also force them to be extreme, by looking at the LED Light of my smartphone obviously.

    My questions:
    Since nearsighted people have a lower risk for narrow angle glaucoma, was or is this Iridotomy even necessary just because of the PIOL? This doesn’t make sense to me at all! What is the chance, that i will ever have a “need” for those holes? As a pupillary block might be more common with a PIOL covering the Pupil (if i understand correctly), i would expect this to happen maybe at the age of 60, when the natural lens gets thicker and pushes the iris towards the PIOL only. Why not wait until patients turn 50 or so?

    If this would stay like this: what is the best medical treatment?
    As the holes are really near to the angle itself, suturing might be dangerous?
    Also, i am only aware of suturing techniques, where access from both sides of the eye are necessary. In my case, the PIOL might be in the way of the instruments?

    For all other “damaged” people out there:
    on the following page, you might find some help:
    Corneal Tatoo, Suturing or if the holes are small, it might be better making them bigger to decrease focus?:

  • In 2012, I was sitting at my computer, and suddenly my right eye became blurry, as if I were looking through a snow globe. After 1/2 hour, it hadn’t cleared, so I immediately was rushed to my ophthalmologist. The pressure had spiked to 52 and caused bleeding. It took from 8:30am to 3:30pm to get the pressure down and bleeding stopped. Three years later, the same thing occurred in my left eye as I was stepping out of the shower. Each of two doctors called the condition idiopathic or unknown. Iridotomies were recommended to keep fluids circulating to minimize pressure buildup and avoid the risk of acute glaucoma should this condition occur again. After reading about the potential risks, I had a bad feeling about having the surgeries performed, but my doctor assure me that risks are rare and far outweigh incurring acute angle glaucoma that can be blinding.

    Like many others, I am extremely disappointed with the results of the laser iridotomies that were performed on both of my eyes, one week apart. Prior to the surgeries, I had 20/20 distance vision. Now I have continuous glare (or as another person described it, white hair lines), light sensitivity, dry eyes, and blurred vision at long distances, all of which are very annoying. Additionally, a cataract has started to form in my left eye. Sunglasses help, but I have to wear them to look at my computer, watch television, and of course, driving.

    At the age of 73, at least I have a shorter life span during which to life with this condition than you younger folks. Still, it’s comforting to know that I am not alone, and I do wish you all the best in finding solutions.

  • Ann

    Can anyone recommend who they used with successful results-ie: no visual problems from the laser irodotomy procedure. Also, possibly someone with dark colored eyes and physicians in the Boston area? I know their are no guarantees but I would like to use someone who performs a high number of these procedures with a high success rate. Also, question whether my choice should be a physician who uses 6 and 9 approach rather than 12 O’clock etc… Any advice most appreciated. I am 58 year old female.

  • Ann

    I have been advised to have laser irodotomy for closed angle glaucoma. I have dark brown eyes which I understand is more difficult than light colored eyes.
    How can I locate specialists with the most experience in performing and success in the MA or NH area. Preferable Boston area on NH seacoast. Will travel for potential lesser risk due to extensive experience and better results ie: fewer side effects.

  • Lisa

    I too had an irodotomy cause the eye to have 2 horizontal glares of light or ghosting as some call it, permanently. The glares are worse depending on the light/ sun and horrible to drive with at night. The hole was placed between 12:00 & 1:00 on the eye. I have read a lot of articles and comments from doctors suggesting that the hole be placed at 3:00 or 9:00. I went to a specialist afterward that said she only does 9 or 3 due to the glare caused at 12:00 by the lid/ tear film. I have not decided if I will have the other eye done at this point. If I do I would go to someone who would place it at 9 or 3. After seeking help the best I found was getting a contact lens specially made very dark brown ( it does not match my other eye) but it reduces the glare almost completely. I am so happy that someone suggested this so I am putting it out there for anyone looking for advice. Seek a contact specialist as the typical colored lenses did not reduce the glare enough. I have read articles that say this side effect occurs in 1 out of every 100 people. The doctor that did it did not tell me there were any possible side effects.

  • DesperateMom


    I had narrow angel and my eye was 20/20 and pressure is always around 14, 15 even after the surgery. So no pressure problem.

    I had iridotomy done to my left eye 5 weeks ago and I had more complications than anyone I read online although all those stories are terrible enough for me to seek second, and third …opinion over the last two years before I decided to trust the doctor. After 5 weeks of hell like of life, now I am almost back to my feet but I still cannot resume my daily activity and cannot resume my job.

    I see the first post on this thread here was from 2010 – Patient Letter to the Editor. I see the patient asked about “white line, the double vision, and the glare will eventually go away”. It has been 6 years since that post, I wonder if the patient has any update on this? Have these symptoms ever gotten better at least if not all gone over these years? Anyone has positive result? I hope all the patients who suffered this are doing better and I have been looking for comfort and hope desperately online since I have given up on the doctor who kept saying that side effects are rare and it is safe and no patients ever had problem….

    I appreciate any feedback on this. I really hope that the white lines will go away and the blinding white spot in middle of my eye will go away so that I can go back to work. (My work requires me to focus on details on computer for long hours and drive at night sometimes. My vision changed from 20/20 to 20/70 within a week after my surgery. But I am using my 20/20 right eye so that this is not a critical issue for me at this moment. )The double vision prevents me from driving at night. Now I cannot take my children to many activities which involve night driving. Somebody out there, please give me some hope by providing your positive experience. My doctor said my brain will learn to adapt, but I cannot reason it to be true. How in the world my brain will tell my eye to ignore the blinding white spot in the middle of my eye, and the second window and the second light I see?

    Any helpful information will be greatly appreciated.

    A desperate mom.

  • linda

    though I would share some positive comments. i have had iridotomy on both eyes at the same time. I was concerned after reading different comments on the internet. But this procedure was performed about a week ago. It was a little uncomfortable and my sight was quite poor for about a couple of hours. By the morning all was well. My sight is good in both eyes not problems with blurry or white lines etc. I have a few aches around my eyes but nothing to cause any problems. I am due to go back to have the pressure check in a couple of weeks.

  • Lynne

    I had the YAG Iridotomy 2 days ago because of closed angles and, after reading many of these posts, I was a bit nervous. However, it was very quick, and I needed just two shots of the laser. It hurt a little more than I expected, and ached slightly for perhaps two hours afterwards. I saw that someone mentioned taking Tylenol just before, which I did, and maybe that helped.
    I went to get the pressure checked an hour after the procedure and all was good. I went home, puttered around a bit, then took an hour nap or so. When I woke, the headache was gone, and the eye was slightly blurry, but otherwise no pain.
    I made sure to take the steroid drops that had been prescribed, and will continue for a week.
    Day 2, the blurriness had diminished. I’m a teacher and went to school. By that night all the blurriness was gone, and I went to Yoga.
    Today, Day 3, I wouldn’t even know I’d had anything done. My 2nd surgery is in a week and a half, and I have no concerns.
    I believe this far outweighs the risk of not having it done, considering the alternative of an acute angle attack.
    I know everyone is different, but I hope this reassures others who will undergo this procedure.
    Incidentally, I am a vegetarian and exercise almost daily. Perhaps that makes a difference, too, who knows?
    Best of luck!

  • Graham

    I had laser iridotomies performed in both eyes in October. Ever since I had some double vision in each eye when there was high contrast.

    I saw triplicate of lights at night (right eye saw a fainter duplicate on the left and the left eye say a duplicate on the right). Similar triple vision or sort of a ghost image of things. If I was outside and looked down at my pale white hand I would see 2 ghost images of it… Working on a computer was hard as things would blend and overlap on with light on the screen.

    I was highly sensitive to light. Couldn’t go outside without sunglasses even on dull days and when driving it felt like everyone had their bright lights on. Furthermore everything seemed washed out. Colours were washed out presumably due to the light bleeding in from the holes.

    Using my fingers to block light entering the holes from the iridotomy made most symptoms disappear so I tried opaque contact lenses and they helped but weren’t a great fit. The coloured ring would move in to my field of view and greatly narrowed my angle of view.

    I followed up with a specialist at the Eye Institute in Ottawa Canada and they performed kind of like a tattoo in my cornea in front of the holes to block the light. Actually it was described as an incision to slice in to the side of my cornea and then they injected the ink. Now I’m 5 days post op and the results are great. Actually the relief was immediate but I still had to heal from the surgery with really only took until the next morning. My vision at this point is 100% restored to how it was before the iridotomy. Something to look in to if you feel stuck with terrible side effects following the iridotomy.

  • Elizabeth

    I have no idea if this site is still active but wondering if anyone has information re corneal tattooing to fix the unwanted side effects of LPI. (Had my right eye done a month ago and have had an absolutely horrid white line and ghosting and headaches ever since.) Right now I am scheduled to have the iridotomy hole sutured shut in a few weeks, but curious if there is a less intrusive way to get rid of this unwanted side effect.
    And BTW – learned I should have had the hole placed at 3 or 9 and not 12 o’clock if I wanted to avoid this unfortunate outcome.
    Thanks in advance for any info anyone can provide.