When the normal course of eyedrop medication does little to relieve the high intraocular pressure present in the eye of a glaucoma patient, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty may be the best option.
SLT is a form of laser surgery that lowers the pressure and helps glaucoma patients essentially improve their vision. Apart from being an alternative or supplementary to medication, it can also be used as an initial treatment for newly diagnosed patients.
If you want to learn more about this laser eye surgery for glaucoma, take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about SLT.
Once laser energy is applied to the eye’s drainage tissue, a biological and chemical change occurs. This change eventually results in the improvement of the drainage of fluid out of the eye. This lowers intraocular pressure. The results can take up to three months to become apparent.
When used as initial therapy for glaucoma, SLT has been found to reduce intraocular pressure by around 30 percent. This puts it in league with the most powerful glaucoma medication, prostaglandin analogs.
The effect of SLT can last anywhere between one to five years. There have been cases where the effects last even longer.
The surgery is typically considered a failure if its effects don’t last for at least 12 months.
If the patient is already on glaucoma medication, the effects of SLT may be reduced.
Primary or secondary open-angle glaucoma patients who need to have the intraocular pressure in their eye lowered are candidates for SLT. These patients have the drainage system of the front part of their eyes open. It is best to consult with a doctor to determine whether a patient can undergo SLT.
Although there may occur some post-operative inflammation, it is usually mild. It can be treated with eye drops or anti-inflammatory but non-steroidal drugs. There is also about a 5 percent risk of rising intraocular pressure, but it can be managed by glaucoma medication. The elevation generally subsides after 24 hours.
SLT is FDA-approved and a generally accepted treatment for glaucoma. This means it is covered by medical insurance and Medicare. The costs may vary for people without medical insurance. Those who have insurance co-pay may also get a different cost.
The first thing to remember about SLT is that it is not a cure for glaucoma. Just as some patients use a combination of medications to treat the condition, SLT can be used by itself or together with other medications, depending on how much lowering of the intraocular pressure each patient requires.
If you need more information about SLT, glaucoma, or other eye conditions and treatments, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 317.841.2020 or 800.322.9488. You can also fill out this short form on our Contact Us page.