Glaucoma is fairly common eye disease that typically affects people over the age of 60 years old. Although there are many different types of Glaucoma the simplest way to describe the condition is as follows:
‘Glaucoma is an eye disease caused by an increase in eye pressure which leads to damage to the optic nerve’
Damage to your optic nerve will eventually lead to loss of your peripheral vision if it is not treated quickly enough. There are various different treatments for Glaucoma including laser treatment but by far the most common method of controlling the eye pressure is by using eye drops. It is important to understand that the laser treatment that is sometimes used to treat Glaucoma is a completely different type of laser compared with that used for laser eye surgery which corrects your vision. To read more about the different types of Glaucoma you can click here.
Can I have laser eye surgery if I have Glaucoma?
The simply answer to this is that it depends on the type and severity of the Glaucoma. This is something that will be assessed during a laser eye surgery consultation and your surgeon will need to know all the details of your Glaucoma before they consider you for treatment. If your eye pressure is not well controlled and you already have peripheral vision loss then you are likely to be deemed unsuitable for laser eye surgery. If however your eye pressure is well controlled with eye drops and you have no visual field loss there is a very good chance you will be suitable for laser eye surgery.
If you have previously had a type of Glaucoma called closed angle Glaucoma which is caused by a rapid increase in eye pressure then the chances are you will be suitable for laser eye surgery. This type of Glaucoma tends to be treated with a one off application of laser which generally cures it completely.
The reason there can be problems performing laser eye surgery on people with Glaucoma is because during the laser eye surgery procedure the pressure within your eye will be raised for a short period of time. This is completely safe in normal circumstances but if your eye pressure is already unstable as a result of Glaucoma then potentially it could exacerbate this further.
In summary there is no definite answer as to whether you can have laser eye surgery if you suffer from Glaucoma. The only way to know for certain is to attend for a laser eye surgery consultation so your exact circumstances can be discussed with you by your surgeon. You should however not rule out laser eye surgery if your have Glaucoma as there is a good chance that you will be suitable.