SLT – Breakthrough Treatment for Glaucoma!
Glaucoma is a degenerative disease initiated by an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) that if left untreated can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve, resulting in gradual vision loss and eventual blindness.
Clear fluid, called aqueous humor, circulates through the eye, providing nourishment to the tissues regulating pressure to help maintain the shape of the eye. Open Angle Glaucoma (OAG), occurs when there is an increase in fluid production or a decrease in fluid drainage. Over time, as the optic nerve fibers are destroyed, peripheral (side) vision is lost, and straightforward vision can begin to disappear, resulting in eventual blindness.
Blocked fluid flow
Aqueous humor flows out of the eye through the Trabecular Meshwork (TM), near the edge of the iris. If the TM is blocked, restricting drainage, the pressure inside the eye increases. This elevated pressure results in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss occurs.
Treatment of Open Angle Glaucoma
OAG treatment concentrates on lowering the pressure inside the eye to prevent damage to the optic nerve. The most common treatments for glaucoma have been the use of medications (in the form of eye drops or pills), laser therapy or surgery.
Eye drops are commonly used to control glaucoma, however, they can be very expensive, messy, and have unwanted side effects. Furthermore, they may need to be taken for the rest of your life. Some medications allow for faster drainage, while other medications reduce the production of aqueous humor.
If non-surgical methods fail to decrease pressure, surgery may be required to create a new drainage channel. Filtration surgeries are designed to relieve eye pressure by removing tissue, inserting implants in the eye, or a combination of both.
Vision loss from glaucoma is permanent but can usually be prevented with early detection and treatment. Glaucoma management is usually a lifelong process that requires frequent monitoring and constant treatment. Since there is no way to determine if glaucoma is under control based on how a person feels, patients should maintain regular doctor visits.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) Therapy
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) therapy is a highly effective treatment for glaucoma that does not rely on medicines. Instead, SLT employs a laser to stimulate the body’s healing response system, reducing pressure in the eye.
Benefits of SLT
Safe: SLT is not associated with systemic side effects or the compliance and cost issues of medications.
How SLT works
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is an advancement over other lasers that have been used safely and effectively in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma for more than two decades.
How SLT is performed
SLT is performed on-site at Christenbury Eye Center and only takes a few minutes. Prior to the procedure, eye drops will be given to prepare the eye for treatment. The laser applications are made through a special microscope, similar to the one used for eye examinations.
What to expected after SLT treatment
Your eye pressure may drop as quickly as a day after having SLT performed. Your doctor may treat the eye with anti-inflammatory eye drops that will be continued after the procedure. Most likely, you will have to return for follow-up visits.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the side effects of SLT?
Unlike some glaucoma medications, there are no incidences of allergy or systemic side effects with SLT. Complications are minimal but may include inflammation, temporary increase in eye pressure, conjunctivitis, or eye pain. For more information about SLT and how it may benefit you, feel free to call Christenbury Eye Center at (877) 702-2020 and speak with one of our phone counselors.
Will I feel anything with the laser treatment?
The laser treatment does not cause a sensation. You may see a green flash of light, but you will feel nothing from the laser. The lens used on your eye may cause some redness or irritation.
Will I still need to continue using my eye drops following the SLT procedure?
Maybe. Each individual is different. Although there is a chance you can eliminate or reduce medications, SLT cannot guarantee this.