Laser Peripheral Iridotomy or LPI, is used exclusively for management in patients with narrow or closed angle glaucoma. With narrow or closed angle glaucoma, there is a drain in the eye, and that drain is at risk for being blocked or covered completely by the colored part of the eye, or the iris. The risk of this is often based upon nothing more than the size of the eye and the age of the eye. So patients that are farsighted or have somewhat shorter eyes, and patients that are over 40 tend to carry the greatest risk for narrow or closed angle glaucoma. Often, if not always, patients that carry this risk are completely asymptomatic until the disease begins to present. And the presentation of this disease is often quite sudden and severe. Fortunately there is a treatment, or laser therapy called LPI to completely eliminate the risk of this ever developing.
This laser treatment is done in a setting very similar to the regular exam room. The laser is connected to a slit lamp, which is the same type of tabletop device your doctor uses to examine your eyes in the office. The treatment is done with the patient in the seated position. The patient is given numbing drops. No IV anesthesia is needed. No sedation is needed. Once the numbing drop is placed in the eye, the doctor will perform the treatment over a roughly one to two-minute period. There’s minimal pain involved with the treatment. Some patients describe feeling a snapping sensation, as though a small rubber band is snapping. It’s not a type of overwhelming pain like we think of when we think of dental procedures. There is no pain after the treatment and patients can resume normal activities the next day.