Selective laser trabeculoplasty, or SLT, is a gentle and non-invasive treatment for glaucoma. This quick and simple procedure is an effective option for most glaucoma patients, but is especially suited to patients who cannot tolerate or are unable to self-administer glaucoma medications. Highly effective, SLT is used as primary treatment for early stages of open angle glaucoma, and can also be used in combination with drug therapy, or as an alternative therapy when drugs fail. It is also a flexible treatment option, because it can be repeated, if necessary, depending on the individual patient’s response.
The SLT technique is not associated with adverse side effects and is a pain-free, outpatient-based procedure performed in our surgery center laser room. SLT uses short pulses of low-energy light to target the pigment in specific cells of the affected eye. In response, the body’s natural healing mechanisms go to work to rebuild these cells – a process that improves drainage and lowers intraocular pressure. The surrounding non-pigmented cells, as well as the rest of the eye, are untouched and undamaged.
In 80 percent of patients treated, SLT lowers intraocular pressure by an average of 25 percent. There are no major risks or complications associated with SLT. The worst that can happen is that you do not respond to the treatment.
- Before treatment– eye drops are administered to prepare the eye for treatment and to provide mild anesthesia.
- During treatment – gentle pulses of light are delivered through a specially designed microscope. The doctor will hold a lens to your eye for better viewing, and you will likely hear the laser pulses as short ticking sounds and may see bright flashes of light. The entire procedure will take approximately three to five minutes.
- After treatment – SLT treatment may take weeks before impacting eye pressure. Your eye pressure will be rechecked at periodic follow-up visits. You will continue any existing glaucoma drops unless instructed otherwise. In addition, you will use an anti-inflammatory drop for 1 week after the SLT treatment.
- How often do I need to receive SLT treatments?
One application can last for many years. Depending on your individual circumstances and goals, another application may be needed at some point in the future.
- Will I feel anything with the laser treatment?
A treatment does not cause any pain, though you may experience minor discomfort during treatment.
- Will I still need to continue using drops following the SLT procedure?
Possibly. Each individual is different. Although there is a chance you can eliminate or reduce medications, SLT cannot guarantee this.