Laser treatment or trabeculoplasty (tra-BECK-you-low-plas-tee) is a simple procedure that your eye doctor can do in the office. It works by using a laser to help the fluid in your eye drain away, which can help to lower the pressure inside your eye. Ask your eye doctor if laser treatment is right for you. 

Do I need laser treatment for my glaucoma?

Laser trabeculoplasty is used to treat open-angle glaucoma. There are other types of laser surgery that can treat other types of glaucoma.  

Ask your eye doctor about all your glaucoma treatment options, including medicines, laser treatment, and surgery. You and your doctor can work together to make a treatment plan that’s right for you.  

What happens during laser treatment for glaucoma?

Before the treatment, your doctor will put drops in your eye to make it numb. Most people feel little or no pain or discomfort during the treatment. 

During the treatment, you will sit in front of a laser machine. Your doctor will aim a laser (a strong beam of light) into your eye using a special lens.  

The doctor will use the laser to try to help fluid drain from your eye. You may see flashes of bright green or red light during the treatment. 

If you have glaucoma in both eyes, your doctor may treat both eyes on the same day, or they may treat 1 eye and schedule treatment for your other eye a few days or a few weeks later. 

Are there any side effects?

Laser treatment can cause side effects, just like any procedure.  

You may have some swelling or soreness. Sometimes the laser can scratch the cornea (the clear front layer of the eye) or make the cornea very dry. This can be painful, but the pain usually goes away quickly as the cornea heals. Your doctor can give you eye drops to help. 

How long does it take to recover?

Most people can go back to their normal daily activities the day after their laser treatment. 

Right after the treatment, your eye may be irritated and your vision might be blurry, so you’ll need someone to give you a ride home from the doctor’s office. 

Will I need more treatment?

Laser treatment works very well for most people, but it doesn’t work for everyone. You’ll need to wait 4 to 6 weeks to find out if the treatment worked.  

Most people will need to keep taking glaucoma medicine even after laser treatment. You’ll also need a few follow-up visits so your doctor can check your eye pressure.  

Because the treatment wears off over time, some people may need to get laser treatment more than once. Your doctor may also suggest other treatment, like surgery. 

Last updated: June 2019