Laser peripheral iridectomies were performed on both eyes of 38 patients with acute or chronic primary angle-closure glaucoma or with narrow angles capable of closure. The right eye was treated with the neodymium YAG laser (Nd:YAG) and the left eye with the argon laser. Patients were followed for a minimum of eight months. The mean number of applications to produce iris penetration was six with the Nd:YAG laser and 73 with the argon laser. Visual acuity, postoperative intraocular pressure (IOP), corneal changes, and pigment dispersion were similar in the two groups. Microhyphema was more prevalent in the Nd:YAG iridectomy group. Pupillary distortion, iritis, and late failure of patency were more frequent in the argon laser group. Nd:YAG laser iridectomies require fewer applications and produce less inflammation. This controlled study demonstrates that when properly and carefully performed, the Nd:YAG laser is at least as effective and appears to be as safe as the argon laser for performing peripheral iridectomies.