Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) 3-5 minute virtually painless laser procedure to lower eye pressure.
How does SLT work?
Laser energy is applied to the trabecular meshwork (drain of the eye). SLT stimulates the trabecular meshwork to increase the amount of fluid drained from within the eye, lowering eye pressure. It may take up to 1-2 months for the laser to take its full effect.
Who needs SLT?
SLT is a first line treatment for patients with open-angle glaucoma who need improvement in eye pressure control. It can be used alone or as an addition to eye drops.
What are the benefits?
On average, SLT can lower the eye pressure by about 20-30%. The laser is effective in lowering eye pressure in about 80% of patients. The laser effect wears off after several years, but the procedure can be repeated. Regardless of how much lower your eye pressure gets, SLT helps stabilize the fluctuations in eye pressure that glaucoma patients experience. This decreases the risk of disease progression. Also, it does not require you to remember to use it everyday or purchase it every month like eye drops do. Thus, it is a more reliable treatment for most patients.
What are the risks?
Compared to many other treatments for glaucoma, including eye drops, SLT has few side effects. Inflammation is rare but possible after the treatment. You will most likely be given an anti-inflammatory drop to use for one week. There is a very small risk of temporary high eye pressures shortly following the laser treatment.
Will SLT cure my glaucoma?
While no treatment cures glaucoma since it is a chronic disease, SLT decreases the risk of progression by lowering your eye pressure. However, it will not reverse any loss of vision that has already occurred.
What should I expect if I have an SLT?
Your treatment will be performed in a specially equipped laser room at our surgery center. Plan for about 2 hours from door to door. Once you have been checked in, drops will be used to numb your eye and check the pressure. No injections or needles will be used.
- First, you will receive an eye drop called brimonidine, which helps prevent a rise in the eye pressure after the procedure. Then a drop of anesthetic will be applied to numb the eye.
- Your doctor will place a special lens on your eye to help focus the laser on the trabecular meshwork. This lens also prevents your eye from blinking and keeps the eye still during the treatment. A clear gel is placed between the eye and the lens to protect the surface of your eye.
- You will then hear a series of clicks and may see flashes of light as the laser treats your eye. There is virtually no pain with the procedure. You will feel the lens slowly rotating on the surface of the eye as the doctor treats various parts of the trabecular meshwork. The procedure generally takes 3-5 minutes.
What should I expect after SLT?
At the end of the laser treatment, the lens will be removed from the eye. As a safety measure, your eye pressure will be checked sometime after your procedure.
How long after the laser will I need to be seen again?
Generally, the next visit is around one month afterwards.
Can I stop my glaucoma drops after the laser procedure?
Your doctor will tell you which drops to continue using and how often after the laser procedure. Sometimes patients are able to reduce the number of eye drops they are taking. Even if you are taking the same glaucoma medications after the procedure, the surgery is a success if your pressure is lower. The need for eye drops long-term after this treatment varies greatly and depends on your type of glaucoma and the rate at which it is progressing.
Will my vision improve after the laser procedure?
This laser is for lowering the eye pressure and will not improve your vision.
What is the recovery time and what should I expect?
Though everyone heals differently, most people can resume normal activities right after treatment. For the next few days your eyes may be red, a little scratchy and sensitive to light if you develop inflammation in the eye after the procedure.There are no restrictions in reading, watching TV, using your phone, tablet device, computer, etc.Tylenol is a good option if you feel any pain or discomfort unless you are unable to take this medication. If your eye has severe pain or sudden worsening pain or vision after surgery, please call our office or on call physician immediately.
Contact us for more information about our life-changing services. To schedule an appointment call 803-256-0641.