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Treatment Options (SLT)

A common laser treatment for glaucoma is called selective laser trabeculoplasty, or SLT. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is becoming a widely accepted treatment option in glaucoma treatment. SLT definitely offers a new glimpse of hope for glaucoma patients. SLT lowers the pressure in your eyem whic may reduce the necessity ofmore invasive surgery. SLT might even reduce the dependence on medications or drops. The surgical process typically involves numbing the eye with topical eye drops so that you will not feel the laser treatment. In SLT, laser treatment is applied to the drain of your eye in order to open it up and let fluid out, lowering the eye pressure and saving your sight. SLT treatment takes only a few minutes, is performed in the office (not the operating room), is safe, and effectively lowers eye pressure in most people. The treatment is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating glaucoma and is covered by essentially all insurance plans. After the procedure anti-inflammatory drops are used.

What does the procedure do?

SLT actually lowers (IOP) intraocular pressure by creating relatively small pulsing low-energy laser light to target cells in the trabecular mesh system of the eye.

Who is a candidate for SLT?

People who might benefit from SLT are described below. If any of these descriptions apply to you, ask your doctor if SLT is right for you.

  • Eye pressure not controlled despite using one or more eye drop medications—If you have tried several medications and your eye pressure is still not under control, SLT may be the next step.
  • Inability to tolerate eye drop medications—Some people have medical problems that make using eye drop medications unsafe; others may be allergic to the preservatives in bottles of eye drop medications.
  • Inability to put eye drop medications in your eyes—If you have arthritis, or a tremor, or very poor vision, you might not be able to put the drops in your eye.
  • Frequently forgetting to use your eye drop medications—If you often forget to put your drops in, your eye pressure may be going up and down a lot; these fluctuations in eye pressure can make glaucoma worse.
  • Inability to afford your eye drop medications—Many people have insurance that will cover SLT but will not cover medications. If you cannot afford your medications, SLT might be a more cost-effective way to control your glaucoma.
  • Desire to reduce the number of eye drop medications you are using—If your eye pressure is controlled but you require several eye drop medications to keep it controlled, SLT might allow you to reduce the number of medications you are using for eye pressure.
  • Desire to avoid starting eye drop medication therapy—If you have just been diagnosed with glaucoma, you may prefer to avoid eye drop medications entirely. SLT may help you accomplish this.