Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, or SLT, is one of the greatest new advances for treatment of open angle glaucoma. This laser can be applied in a few minutes to lower eye pressure and treat glaucoma. Eye pressure is lowered in about 70% of the patients treated. The lower eye pressure is believed to help prevent further glaucoma damage to the optic nerve. Many patients can reduce their dependency on drops by having this laser applied.
The SLT laser targets only the pigmented cells in the angle, which it where the fluid is drained out of the eye. This treatment releases local chemicals that induce the eyes own healing system to clean up the area. It is this healing response that is believed to reduce the eye pressure.
Eye drops are commonly used to treat glaucoma, but they can be expensive and many have unwanted side effects. The benefits of SLT include no systemic side effects or compliance issues encountered with eye drops. The SLT treatment is “selective”, targeting only cells with melanin, there is no anatomic thermal damage to the surrounding trabecular meshwork as seen with prior laser techniques such as Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT).
SLT is reimbursed by Medicare and most insurances. Patients often enjoy long-term savings by reducing their dependency on expensive eye drops.
We perform the SLT laser at Physicians Outpatient Surgery Center in Belpre, Ohio. SLT is typically painless and only takes a few minutes to apply. Risks include inflammation, temporary increased eye pressure, headache, iritis, redness, eye pain and failure of the procedure to adequately lower the eye pressure. Overall, most patients find SLT to be a quick and comfortable procedure for glaucoma.
SLT is a great alternative to adding a second drop. It is also great for patients that have trouble applying drops or remembering to take their eye drops. Discuss the SLT option with your eye physician. He can go over the risks and benefits of SLT in more detail and discuss your case on a more in depth and individualized bases.