SLT does not rely on medicines, instead, uses an advanced laser system to target only specific cells of the eye-those containing melanin, a natural pigment. This allows for only these cells to be affected, leaving surrounding tissue intact. As a result, your body’s own healing response helps lower the pressure in your eye.
Benefits of SLT
SLT is not associated with systemic side effects or the compliance and cost issues of medications. SLT utilizes selective photothermolysis to target only specific cells, leaving the surrounding tissue intact. SLT stimulates the body’s natural mechanisms to enhance outflow of the fluid in your eye.
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, doctor visits should be on a regular basis.
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. SLT works by using laser light to stimulate the body’s own healing response to lower your eye pressure. Using a special wavelength and energy, the laser affects only pigmented (melanin containing) cells of your eye. SLT improves the flow of fluid in the eye, which in turn lowers your eye pressure.
How SLT is performed
SLT is usually performed in the physician’s office 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 expect after SLT treatment
Your eye pressure may drop as quickly as a day or more of having SLT performed. The 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.
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, blurred vision, headache, iritis corneal edema, corneal lesion, conjunctivitis, or eye pain. For more information about SLT and how it may benefit you, please ask your doctor.
Will I feel anything with the laser treatment?
Generally, the laser treatment does not cause pain. However, studies show some patients experience a sensation during treatment. You may see a green flash of light, and 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?
Because each individual reacts differently to SLT, Dr. Jovkar can best answer this question