Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
I have anatomically narrow angles and my doctor suggested I have iridectomies on both eyes. I do not have glaucoma. Is the surgery necessary?

Answer:
Glaucoma is the condition in which the internal pressure of the eye is elevated beyond the capacity of the eye to withstand it (leading to vision loss if untreated). You have only the potential to develop an acute form of glaucoma termed angle closure, as you currently do not have actual glaucoma. In this condition, the iris can block the outflow of the internal eye fluid circulation leading to an abrupt elevation of the eye pressure which can be visually threatening. The suggestion to do an iridectomy (which is a rather benign, outpatient procedure with no pain and extraordinarily rare complication rate) is designed to create an opening to bypass the normal fluid flow so that you would not have to suffer an acute attack in the future. Is surgery of this type necessary? No but there is an assumed risk if you do not agree to have it. Discuss your odds with your treating ophthalmologist.

Answered by: Richard Bensinger, MD Dr. Richard Bensinger

Categories: Eye Surgery, Glaucoma

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Answered: Jan 14, 2013

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