Cyclodiode Laser Treatment

If the natural (aqueous) fluid which fills the eye cannot drain away properly, it can result in a buildup of pressure within the eye. The high pressure can cause loss of vision and, if very high, pain or discomfort. The aim of glaucoma treatment is to reduce the pressure to a level which is safe for the eye. If eye drops fails to reduce the pressure, damage to the delicate optic nerve will eventually cause permanent loss of sight. However, there are other options to reduce the risk of this happening.

Cyclodiode laser treatment

Cyclodiode laser treatment causes cyclodestruction, destroying a portion of the ciliary body, a structure in the eye which produces aqueous fluid. This can reduce the amount of fluid produced and therefore reduce pressure inside the eye. The laser energy is directed to the ciliary body via a probe that is held against the wall of the eye. This procedure is most commonly used on eyes where other forms of surgery would be difficult or likely to fail. Although the treatment is usually effective, more than one treatment is sometimes required.

Before the procedure

Please take all medication as normal or as instructed. Your eye specialist (ophthalmologist) will advise you on which of your eye drops to use after the procedure.

During the procedure

This procedure is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. This means that although you will be awake, the eye will be numb so you will not feel any pain. You do not usually have to stay in hospital—the procedure itself lasts approximately 15 minutes and is carried out in the operating theatre.

After the procedure

The eye may be covered with a pad after the operation which you should leave on until you get home. It is not advisable to drive on the day of the procedure.

Your eye may be uncomfortable for a few days after the procedure – this can usually be controlled with products such as paracetamol. The eye may also be watery and gritty for a few days and the vision may be blurred. You may be given some new drops to use initially to reduce inflammation in the eye. It is important that these drops are used as directed. Your ophthalmologist will advise whether you should continue your usual drops or stop them.

You will usually have a check-up appointment within 1 month of treatment to monitor your response to the laser treatment. 

What are the risk and benefits?

Any medical treatment involves potential risks. Some of those which apply to this procedure are:

  • Pain after the operation
  • Inflammation in the eye
  • In some cases the pressure can be too high or low following treatment
    • High pressure following the procedure may require another treatment session
    • In some cases reduced vision for up to 6 weeks
    • In very rare cases persistently very low pressure can cause permanent loss of vision and alter the cosmetic appearance of the eye
  • Very rarely bleeding or infection

Although the risks may sound worrying it is important to remember that cyclodiode laser treatment is generally successful and well tolerated.

In some patients, cyclodiode laser treatment can have the additional benefit of reducing pain from high pressure.

This procedure DOES NOT improve your vision. 

What you can expect after your surgery

  • You will have an eye shield or pad on your eye which can be removed when you get home. You may notice some blood-stained tears on the eye pad when you remove it. This is normal and there is nothing to worry about
  • Your sight may be blurred immediately after the operation. This will usually improve after a week or two but can last up to six weeks.
  • Your eye will be watery for a short period of time.
  • You may have a gritty sensation in the eye for a week or two.Mild pain can be relieved by taking pain killers such as paracetamol.
  • Following your operation you should rest and take things easy. You can carry out normal day to day activities.

Post-operative care of your eye

  • You will be given some eye drops to administer regularly. These will usually start on the evening of your surgery once you get home. The frequency will be explained to you by the ophthalmologist or your discharging nurse.
  • If you are on more than one drop wait 5 minutes between each eye drop.
  • Please continue any regular eye drops as well in the eye you have had operated on until your doctor tells you otherwise. If you take drops in the other eye please continue as normal.
  • You will have regular clinic appointments following the surgery to monitor your eye pressures. The first one is normally the next day. 

Download the fact sheet here.