Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) lowers eye pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma. The procedure can be used in place of traditional eye drop medications or in conjunction with other treatments for the best results. While there is no cure for glaucoma, SLT is an effective tool to control the progression. Our Ophthalmologists specialize in glaucoma treatment and can help you determine if SLT is right for you.
How Does SLT Work?
This laser treatment is a relatively new surgery for open-angle glaucoma that uses low-energy light delivered in short pulses to target the cells that contain melanin in the trabecular meshwork. The trabecular meshwork is a spongy tissue found by the cornea that filters fluid (aqueous humor) out of the eye. This tiny system of channels is often the place of greatest resistance for fluid drainage. SLT triggers a biological and chemical change in the tissues to improve fluid drainage and lower eye pressure. Results may take up to three months and may wear off, but a subsequent SLT procedure may be performed.
The SLT laser uses minimal heat energy as the light is only absorbed by selected pigmented tissues and is sometimes called a cold laser. The procedure offers less scar tissue and pain than other surgical options for glaucoma.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty Procedure Details
The SLT procedure starts with numbing drops in the treated eye, and an eyelid holder is used to prevent blinking during the laser treatment. A green light with a high peak power beam is directed at your eye lens, then reflected onto the trabecular meshwork. As the laser targets the melanin-containing cells for better outflow of fluid, you may see red or green light flashes. Selective laser trabeculoplasty may take 10-20 minutes, and most patients don’t experience any pain.
Our Ophthalmologists may prescribe eye drops to ease soreness and swelling after the procedure, and you should plan to rest afterward. Follow-up visits monitor eye pressure to evaluate SLT results. Repeat SLT procedures are typically not as effective as the initial surgery.
When is SLT an Option for Glaucoma?
SLT is used to treat primary or secondary open-angle glaucoma. Open-angle is the most common type of glaucoma and occurs when the trabecular meshwork is partially blocked. The drainage angle is open between the cornea and iris, which raises eye pressure gradually. SLT is an option when eye drop medications don’t lower the intraocular pressure enough or side effects are not tolerable. The procedure has been used around the world for nearly three decades.
How Effective is SLT in Lowering Eye Pressure?
Intraocular pressure is typically lowered by 30% after initial therapy with SLT, and results may last up to five years or longer. SLT is not considered a successful procedure unless the effects last at least six months to a year.
Contact St. Michael’s Eye & Laser Institute
Selective laser trabeculoplasty can be an effective option for those living with open-angle glaucoma. Contact our Ophthalmologists in Largo, Florida, to schedule your appointment to see if SLT is right for you.