Glaucoma is a condition in which elevated eye pressure causes optic nerve damage and loss of vision. In order to avoid vision loss, individuals with glaucoma must have their intraocular pressure monitored closely to ensure that the eye pressure remains in a safe range. Intraocular pressure may be lowered by eye drops, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), or surgery.
Most cases of glaucoma are caused by increased resistance at the Trabecular Meshwork (TM), where the fluid drains from the eye. SLT alters the TM, allowing fluid to more easily exit the eye. This lowers the intraocular pressure in about 75% of patients. SLT is about as effective as glaucoma drops in reducing eye pressure (20-25% reduction). Effects of SLT may wane over years, but the procedure may be repeated if necessary.
SLT is a brief and painless office procedure. The eye is anesthetized with a drop, and a contact lens applied to the eye to aim the laser and prevent blinking. During the procedure, the patient will hear a series of clicks and see flashing lights. Immediately after the procedure, the vision may be slightly blurred and the eye slightly irritated.
Elevated eye pressure is rarely seen immediately following SLT. The physician will check your eye pressure after SLT to ensure this has not occurred.
Alternate treatments for glaucoma include eye drops or surgery.
Glaucoma may cause loss of vision. Careful monitoring and control of eye pressure are crucial in preserving vision in glaucoma patients. SLT is an effective and safe procedure for lowering eye pressure.