Question: What is laser trabecular surgery, when is it used to treat glaucoma, and what are the risks/benefits?
Answer: Laser trabeculoplasty is a procedure in which laser energy is delivered to the drain of the eye, otherwise known as the trabecular meshwork. The trabecular meshwork, or drain of the eye, is not like the drain of a sink or passive filter. It's a living tissue that needs to pump and function properly in order to maintain a normal intraocular pressure, a normal or healthy intraocular pressure. When the pressure's elevated, either at the very onset of the disease, or if the pressure is still elevated after all the medication options have been employed, then laser trabeculoplasty can be considered.
Generally, laser trabeculoplasty is safe; however there are potentially serious complications which can occur. Massive elevations of intraocular pressure or bleeding can occur but fortunately these potential complications are very rare. However you should discuss all the potential benefits and risks with your treating ophthalmologist.