Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) does not rely on any medication or filtration surgery to improve drainage. Instead, SLT uses an advanced cool laser system to target only specific pigmented cells of the TM – those containing melanin, a natural pigment. This non-invasive procedure allows for only these cells to be affected, leaving the surrounding tissue intact. As a result, your body’s own healing response expands the microscopic pores in the TM, enhancing aqueous humor drainage and helping to lower the IOP. Selective laser trabeculoplasty is an advancement over the previous non-selective lasers that have been used safely and effectively in the treatment of open angle glaucoma for more than two decades.
- Safe: SLT is not associated with systemic side effects or the compliance and cost concerns of daily medications.
- Selective: SLT utilizes selective photothermolysis to target only specific pigmented cells, leaving the surrounding tissue intact.
- Smart: SLT stimulates the body’s natural mechanisms to enhance aqueous humor outflow from the eye.
- Sensible: SLT therapy is reimbursed by Medicare and many other insurance providers, minimizing your out-of-pocket expense.
SLT is performed on an out patient basis in the Surgery Center, taking only a few minutes to complete. Prior to the procedure, eye drops will be given to prepare the eye for treatment. The laser applications are made through a specialized microscope, similar to the one used for eye examinations. A treatment lens is placed over the eye to direct the focused laser beam on the trabecular meshwork located within the filtration angle.
A lens placed over the eye to direct the light to the trabecular meshwork.
Your eye pressure may drop as quickly as a day or so after having SLT performed, but usually requires more time for maximum effect to develop. During that period the doctor will likely continue treatment with conventional glaucoma medications. The doctor may treat the eye with anti-inflammatory eye drops for several days after the procedure. You will need to return for periodic follow-up visits to monitor IOP regardless of the need for supplemental eye drops.
Unlike glaucoma medications, there are no allergic or systemic side effects following SLT. Neither are there any of the serious potential complications associated with filtration surgery. Possible complications of SLT are minimal but may include inflammation, temporary increase in IOP sometimes requiring additional medications, transient blurring of vision, headache, iritis, corneal edema, conjunctival inflammation or eye pain. For more information about SLT and how SLT may benefit you, please ask your treating doctor.
Generally, the laser treatment does not cause pain. However, some patients experience a mild “sensation” during treatment. Most are aware of a green flash of light but feel nothing from the laser. The treatment lens used over your eye may cause some temporary irritation, despite the routine use of anesthetic eye drops.
The goal of SLT is to reduce or eliminate the need for medications to control the IOP. Because each individual reacts differently to SLT, even if the IOP is lower following SLT, supplementary eye drop treatment may continue to be needed for optimal IOP control.