SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty)
In SLT, a laser makes tiny, evenly spaced burns in the trabecular meshwork of the eye. The laser does not create new drainage holes, but appears to stimulate the drain to function more effectively. The procedure can be done in the office with an eye drop anesthetic. The laser machine looks similar to the examination microscope that the doctor uses at each visit to look at your eyes. Almost everybody finds the procedure comfortable and without pain. The procedure takes about 5 to 10 minutes.
There are some individuals who respond well to this and others who do not respond at all to the therapy. Your response is determined by the type of glaucoma you have and the basic makeup of your eye. We usually cannot predict how well the laser will work.
People often continue taking glaucoma medications after SLT. There is usually little pain associated with this laser procedure and few complications. SLT effectively lowers eye pressure three quarters of the time, but for many people it is not a permanent solution. For people have had successful SLT, it may be repeated with a similar pressure-lowering effect.
Who will Benefit from SLT?
If you fit into any of the following categories, you may be a good candidate for SLT:
- If you have primary open-angle glaucoma, pseudoexfoliation, pigmentary or juvenile glaucoma.
- If you are intolerant of glaucoma medications (due to allergies, etc.).
- If you have difficulty putting eye drops in your eyes – if you have arthritis, a tremor or poor vision you might not be able to put drops in your eyes.
- If you are unable to afford your eye drop medications.
- If you desire to reduce the number of eye drop medications you are using.
- If you frequently forget to use your glaucoma eye drops.