What is SLT Glaucoma Treatment?
SLT ( Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty) is a form of laser surgery that is used for treatment of open-angle glaucoma. Glaucoma, also known as hypertension inside the eye, is a disease increasing the pressure in patient’s eye. Anyone with eye pressure of greater than 22 mm Hg is under the risk of glaucoma. Aqueous humor made by the ciliary body is fluid produced inside the eye, supporting and nourishing the lens, protecting against any infection. Aqueous humor is not only produced but also drained from the eye. When there is any blockage in draining vessels , this liquid accumulates and causes further problems. Intraocular pressure arises. Then optic nerve is damaged due to constant high intraocular pressure, which results in vision loss. Uncontrolled glaucoma can cause unreversable effects in the eye. Neural tissues of human body cannot regenerate and any harm inflicted on optic nerve is incurable. Therefore glaucoma should be taken under control before any damage has been done to nerve tissue.
There are multiple treatments practiced in order to reduce intraocular pressure. Treatment of Glaucoma ranges from medications to laser and surgery. Aqueous humor production can be limited with using medications prescribed by your eye doctor. Glaucoma surgery includes various surgical procedures in order to lower the pressure. Condition of some patients may not be ideal for these procedures or they may not have the desired outcome. In such cases other treatments can be practiced. Thanks to advanced technology, treatment with laser, which is used more and more in medicine, is one of aforementioned treatments.
Are you a good candidate for SLT?
There are two types of glaucoma based on how it is formed. The most common form is open-angle glaucoma for which the best treatment option is SLT. Patients ,who are non-responsive to medications or whose procedures might be risky, are eligible for SLT. Although using the prescribed medications is preferred most of the time; pregnancy, alergy or medications out of stock are among the reasons why SLT is a better choice. Also SLT can be preferred as a secondary treatment along with medications.
How does SLT work?
The vessels that drain aqueous humor may shrink or get partially blocked. The purpose of SLT is to widen these vessels so that aqueous humor fluid can be drained out of the eye and pressure inside the eye decreases. SLT procedure takes 30 to 40 seconds for each eye, during which the patient will not feel any kind of pain. It is a quite easy procedure and can be performed in the exam room without needing an operating room. After the procedure, the patient is observed for two hours in case intraocular pressure elevates. Unless eye pressure is higher than normal and any complication occurs, the patient can go back to his routine/daily life. According to most recent researches %60-96 of the patients’ intraocular pressure lowers significantly within the first year. SLT can be practiced as many times as needed to increase its effect as techniques used in this procedure do not harm other surrounding tissues.