OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI) on forward-scatter of light and subjective visual symptoms and to identify LPI parameters influencing these phenomena. DESIGN: Cohort study derived from a randomized trial, using an external control group. PARTICIPANTS: Chinese subjects initially aged 50 or older and 70 years or younger with bilateral narrow angles undergoing LPI in 1 eye selected at random, and age- and gender-matched controls. METHODS: Eighteen months after laser, LPI-treated subjects underwent digital iris photography and photogrammetry to characterize the size and location of the LPI, Lens Opacity Classification System III cataract grading, and measurement of retinal straylight (C-Quant; OCULUS, Wetzlar, Germany) in the treated and untreated eyes and completed a visual symptoms questionnaire. Controls answered the questionnaire and underwent straylight measurement and (in a random one-sixth sample) cataract grading. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Retinal straylight levels and subjective visual symptoms. RESULTS: Among 230 LPI-treated subjects (121 [58.8%] with LPI totally covered by the lid, 43 [19.8%] with LPI partly covered by the lid, 53 [24.4%] with LPI uncovered by the lid), 217 (94.3%) completed all testing, as did 250 (93.3%) of 268 controls. Age, gender, and prevalence of visual symptoms did not differ between treated subjects and controls, although nuclear (P<0.01) and cortical (P = 0.03) cataract were less common among controls. Neither presenting visual acuity nor straylight score differed between the treated and untreated eyes among all treated persons, nor among those (n = 96) with LPI partially or totally uncovered. Prevalence of subjective glare did not differ significantly between participants with totally covered LPI (6.61%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.39%-12.5%), partially covered LPI (11.6%; 95% CI, 5.07%-24.5%), or totally uncovered LPI (9.43%; 95% CI, 4.10%-10.3%). In regression models, only worse cortical cataract grade (P = 0.01) was associated significantly with straylight score, and no predictors were associated with subjective glare. None of the LPI size or location parameters were associated with straylight or subjective symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggests that LPI is safe regarding measures of straylight and visual symptoms. This randomized design provides strong evidence that treatment programs for narrow angles would be unlikely to result in important medium-term visual disability.
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