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A laser surgery to treat glaucoma
An  YAG laser is used in this procedure.
An opthalmologist uses a YAG laser.

What it is:

This laser surgery is used to reduce the amount of fluid entering the eye. This helps lessen eye pressure for people with glaucoma.

What You Can Expect:

This is an outpatient laser surgery. There may be some pain or discomfort afterwards.

Who Is a Good Candidate:

If you have advanced open-angle glaucoma and other treatments have failed, you may be a good candidate for cyclophotocoagulation.

In-Depth Information:

What It’s For How It Works Risks All

What It’s For

Cyclophotocoagulation is generally used to treat advanced or aggressive open-angle glaucoma. It is usually used after other treatments have proven unsuccessful.

In open-angle glaucoma, the eye's aqueous humor (the clear liquid that circulates inside the front portion of the eye) does not drain properly. This causes pressure to build up within the eye. The medical term for this pressure is intraocular pressure. Such pressure inside the eye may damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss. Medications, laser surgery, or other glaucoma surgeries may be used to lower and control the eye pressure.

How It Works

During cyclophotocoagulation surgery, your doctor will point a laser at the white part of your eye (sclera). The laser passes through the sclera to the ciliary body, the part of the eye that makes eye fluid (aqueous humor). The laser damages parts of the ciliary body so that it will make less eye fluid, which lowers eye pressure. This surgery is usually done at a doctor's office or outpatient surgery clinic.

The procedure is performed with local anesthesia. When the anesthetic wears off after the procedure, you may experience some pain or discomfort. Your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) may prescribe medication such as Tylenol with codeine to help ease the discomfort.

In follow-up exams after cyclophotocoagulation, your Eye M.D. will check for inflammation and monitor the pressure in your eye.


Your eyes may feel sore and swollen after surgery, but that should go away in a week or two. You may also have blurred vision as your eyes heal. You may need this surgery more than once to reduce the amount of fluid generated by the ciliary body.

Risks associated with cyclophotocoagulation include pain, inflammation, and decreased vision. While the risks may sound unpleasant, keep in mind that unless severe glaucoma is treated, you run the risk of losing vision permanently.

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