of Open Angle Glaucoma
treatment concentrates on lowering the pressure inside the eye to prevent damage
to the optic nerve. The most common treatments for glaucoma have been the use
of medications in the form of eye drops, pills, and laser treatments. Laser treatments
and some medications allow for faster drainage, while other medications reduce
the production of aqueous humor. If these methods fail to decrease fluid pressure,
conventional surgery may be required to create a new drainage channel.
medications and eye drops can cause undesirable effects or simply fail to control
glaucoma, and because patients frequently fail to take their medications, laser
surgery may be a better alternative.
traditional argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT), tiny, evenly spaced burns are made
in the trabecular meshwork with an argon laser. These laser burns stimulate the
drainage of aqueous humor. However, scarring of the trabecular meshwork occurs
as a result of ALT burns, and may limit its success and the ability to retreat
the eye should the procedure need to be repeated in the future.
Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is an advanced type of laser surgery and approach
to managing patients with an open-angle glaucoma. Instead of generally burning
tissue as in ALT, SLT selectively targets pigmented cells in the trabecular meshwork.
Both SLT and ALT produce equivalent drops in IOP, however the more sophisticated
SLT procedure does not have the associated damage to other tissues and adverse
scarring effects. For this reason, where ALT is limited, SLT may potentially be
repeated many times. SLT has also been found to be effective when ALT and other
forms of treatment have failed.
• SLT results in a biological response that increases aqueous drainage,
and reduces 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
is SLT performed?
is usually performed in the office and only takes about 15-20 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.
should be expected after SLT treatment?
IOP should drop significantly within a day of having the SLT performed. The doctor
may treat the eye with anti-inflammatory eye drops that will be continued for
four to seven days after the procedure. Most patients will have to return for
follow-up visits to recheck the treated eye.
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. For more information about SLT and its
benefits and possible adverse effects ask the doctor.
is the best medicine
loss from glaucoma is permanent but can usually be prevented with early detection
and treatment. Glaucoma management is usually a lifelong process that requires
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, a person
with glaucoma generally should be examined every three to four months for the
rest of their lives.