Glaucoma Treatments

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) For Glaucoma

Laser has become increasingly popular as an effective treatment for glaucoma. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is an established laser treatment for open-angle glaucoma. SLT uses short pulses of low energy laser light to target melanin-containing cells in a network of tiny channels, called the trabecular meshwork. The objective of the laser procedure is to help fluids drain out of the eye, reducing intra-ocular pressure that can cause damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision.

The selective technique is much less traumatic to the eye than Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT), which had been the standard laser procedure. SLT reduces intra-ocular pressure without the risk of tissue damage which occurred with ALT. SLT can be used to effectively treat some patients who could not benefit from ALT. This includes patients who have already been treated with ALT.

In many cases, you will need to keep taking glaucoma drugs even after laser procedure, although many patients will not require drops after SLT treatment.

SLT is for those:

  • who have been diagnosed with glaucoma
  • whose doctor has determined that SLT is appropriate for controlling their intra-ocular pressure

What to expect on procedure day:

Your treatment will be performed in a specially equipped laser room located at the Metairie office at Caplan Eye Clinic. Once you have been checked in and settled comfortably, drops will be used to numb your eye; no injections or needles are used. Since no other anesthesia is needed, you may usually drive yourself to and from the Clinic. No other special preparations is required.

Your physician will hold up a special lens to your eye as the laser light is aimed at the lens and reflected onto the meshwork inside your eye. You may see flashes of bright green or red light. The laser will selectively target melanin-containing cells, resulting in increased fluid outflow. You will not feel any pain during the procedure. It takes just a few minutes to perform the laser treatment, but the entire process may take an hour or so.

Your eye pressure will be checked shortly after your procedure and drops may be prescribed to alleviate any mild soreness. You should relax for the rest of the day. Follow-up visits are necessary to monitor your eye pressure. While it may take a few weeks to see the full pressure-lowering effect of this procedure, during which time you may have to continue taking your medication, many patients are eventually able to discontinue some of their medications. .

Realistic expectations:

The effect of the surgery may wear off over time. Serious complications with SLT are extremely rare, but like any laser or surgical procedure, it does have some risks. Going to a specialist experienced in SLT can minimize the risks.

If your physician decides that SLT is an option for you, you will be given additional information about the procedure that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed. Be sure you have all your questions answered to your satisfaction. If you would like more information about this procedure you can make an appointment or contact Caplan Eye Clinic for additional information.