Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a safe and effective way to treat glaucoma. The laser works by opening up channels in the trabecular meshwork and utilizing the natural drainage system in the eye. It is an easy procedure done in the office and only takes minutes to do. It is essentially painless although some patients may feel a twinge when the laser is fired. Most patients will feel nothing.
When arriving at the clinic for the laser treatment, it is important first to identify the correct eye to be treated that day. Second, a drop of Alphagan® P will be placed in the eye to help stabilize the pressure during and after the procedure. Approximately 30 minutes after the laser, the treatment will be done by Dr. Adam P. Dossey. After the short procedure, you will be required to stay in the clinic and have your intraocular pressure taken.
You will be sent home with a bottle of Acular LS® eye drops to use 4 times a day for 4 days. The post-procedure period is usually unremarkable. If there is increasing pain after the procedure, contact the clinic for further instruction.
Benefits of SLT
- SLT results in a biological response that increases aqueous drainage, and reduces intraocular pressure (IOP).
- No adverse reactions from medications
- No adverse scarring of trabecular meshwork
- May reduce the need for lifelong use of expensive eye drops and other medications
- May reduce or eliminate the trouble of always having to take glaucoma medications
How is SLT Performed?
SLT is usually performed in the office and only takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Prior to the procedure, eye drops will be given for anesthesia and to prepare the eye for treatment. The laser applications are made through a slit-lamp microscope, similar to the one used for eye examinations. About one hour of office time should be planned so the IOP can be checked after the eye is treated.
What Should Be Expected After SLT Treatment and What Are the Risks?
The IOP should drop within several weeks of having the SLT performed. The doctor may treat the eye with anti-inflammatory eye drops that will be continued for 4-7 days after the procedure. Most patients will have to return for follow-up visits to recheck the treated eye. Although highly effective, SLT does not always lower the intraocular pressure. If there is little or no response, the treatment may be repeated. If there is still no improvement, further treatments are unlikely to be of benefit.
Unlike some glaucoma medications, there are no incidences of allergy or systemic side effects with SLT. Complications are minimal but may include inflammation, transitory IOP spike, conjunctivitis, or eye pain. The chance of worsening or loss of vision is remote. For more information about SLT and its benefits and possible side effects, please ask your doctor at Heaton Eye Associates.
You can also visit this website to learn more about SLT, the new treatment that is used for glaucoma patients.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Vision loss from glaucoma is permanent but can usually be prevented with early detection and treatment. Glaucoma management can be a life-long process requiring frequent monitoring and constant treatment. Since there is no way to determine if glaucoma is under control based on how a person feels or their vision, they should be examined every 3 to 6 months.