Published on August 13th, 2012 | by Mark Erickson
SLT laser for the treatment of glaucoma
SLT laser procedure for glaucoma treatment
What is SLT laser?
SLT laser stands for “Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty”. This is a laser procedure used to treat glaucoma by reducing the pressure in the eye.
What are the advantages of SLT?
There are a few key reasons why SLT may be deemed beneficial for you:
- Safe: SLT is not associated with systemic side effects or the compliance and cost issues of medications.
- Selective: SLT utilizes selective photothermolysis to target only specific cells, leaving the surrounding tissue intact.
- Smart: SLT stimulates the body’s natural mechanisms to enhance outflow of the fluid in your eye.
- Sensible: SLT therapy is reimbursed by Medicare and many other insurance providers, which minimizes your out-of-pocket expenses.
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 in tact. As a result, your body’s own healing response helps lower the pressure in your eye.
How is SLT performed?
SLT is an outpatient procedure. You will sit in a conventional exam chair, where the doctor will use a slit lamp to examine your eye. The same slit lamp contains the SLT laser. During the procedure, the doctor will put anesthetic drops in your eye to numb it, and then place a lens on your eye for better viewing. The laser is applied to the edge of your iris. The entire procedure only takes a few moments.
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 in rare cases.
How often do I need to receive SLT treatments?
Successes with SLT vary. You will need to consult your doctor to inquire about follow-up treatments.
How does SLT work?
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 do I know SLT has worked?
There is no sensation associated with an SLT procedure. You will require follow up visits with your doctor to monitor the success of the treatment.
Is SLT right for me?
Only your doctor knows what is best for your individual needs. SLT may be the right option for you, simply ask your doctor to find out more.
Are there other options available?
There are other laser, surgery or medical options available. You should talk to your doctor to find out which approach is best for you.
Does SLT work for all types of glaucoma?
There are different types of glaucoma. While SLT works on most, it does not work for all. Your doctor will know the appropriate course of action.
Will I still need to continue using my eyedrops following the SLT procedure?
Because each individual reacts differently to SLT, your doctor can best answer this question.
How long will I have to wait to experience the full treatment effect of the SLT laser?
People can respond as soon as an hour after treatment, or as much as a few months later. Continued monitoring and follow up will determine the response of therapy.
See also: What is glaucoma?