Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty is an in office laser procedure used for different types of glaucoma to try and lower the eye pressure.
How does it work?
A laser is used to apply energy to the drain of the eye called the trabecular meshwork. As the eye heals, the fluid is able to leave the eye easier causing the eye pressure to decrease. Think of this like putting more holes in a colander to let the fluid drain more efficiently.
Who needs SLT?
Anyone with glaucoma may benefit from the SLT laser. It can be used to control eye pressure by itself, or in combination with eye drops.
What are the benefits?
SLT is a procedure that typically lowers eye pressure by 20-30% with one application. This benefit typically lasts anywhere from 3-5 years and can be repeated several times. Although repeated applications may not be as beneficial.
What are the risks?
Compared with surgery and eye drops, SLT has very little risk. The biggest risk is that the laser may not improve your eye pressure, but this only happens in 10-20% of patients. Other risks include temporarily elevated eye pressure following the laser requiring additional glaucoma medications. This typically resolves with time. You may also experience inflammation following the laser which can cause light sensitivity and discomfort, but our patients are given an anti-inflammatory drop for five days to help the healing process.
What can I expect if I have the SLT?
You will come to our office for the laser treatment. Once you have been checked in, you will be given several drops to prepare your eye for the laser procedure. Your eye pressure will be checked.
Your doctor will place a special lens on the surface of your eye to help focus the laser. 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 5-10 minutes.
After the procedure your eye pressure will be checked 30 minutes later. Your vision may remain blurry for an hour due to the gel used during the procedure.
You will have an appointment with your doctor in about 1 week to check your eye pressure, but the laser may continue to work over the next several months to lower the eye pressure even more.
Other things to know:
This procedure will not change your vision. The goal is the lower the eye pressure, not to make your vision better.
This procedure does not cure glaucoma, but is a tool to help keep the eye pressure in a safe range to limit the damage caused by glaucoma.
There are no limitations or restrictions following a SLT procedure and you may take Tylenol for any discomfort.