Glaucoma: Benefits Of Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty

When you suffer from glaucoma, the high eye pressure you experience can lead to permanent vision loss. Fortunately, a variety of treatments now exist that can effectively manage this pressure. Prescription eye drops are the most common treatment, but surgery is sometimes an option. If your eye pressure is not responding to these more conventional treatments, ask your ophthalmologist about Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty or SLT.


SLT is an in-office procedure that does not require general anesthesia. Your doctor will simply put numbing drops in your eye to lessen your discomfort. He uses a special microscope and lens to direct the laser, and then he uses it to "burn" into your eye canals to encourage drainage. The process is over in a few minutes, and in general has few side effects. Your eye pressure can rise quickly in the hours immediately after the procedure, but your doctor will likely provide medication to counteract that tendency. In a matter of weeks, your eye pressure should significantly improve.


In many cases, SLT can lower your eye pressure by up to 30%. The positive effects of the laser treatment often last anywhere from one to five years. Once the effect does wear off, the procedure can be repeated, although it may not be as effective the second time. Fortunately, STL does not compromise any other glaucoma treatment. The laser causes only minimal scarring. If it does not work, drops and other surgery are still viable options. In some cases, STL will eliminate the need for you to continue eye drop treatment. STL can be particularly beneficial for those patients who struggle with following a medication routine. 


Medicare and private insurance should cover much of the cost of this procedure. Patients are likely to actually save money by having this laser surgery. The cumulative cost of eye drops over a period of years is substantial. After this surgery, your life can be easier and less expensive. 

As a glaucoma patient, you are well aware of the importance of ongoing treatment for your condition. The disease is very treatable but often requires a conscientious adherence to using eye drops. If your pressure does not respond well to these drops or you are careless about using them, talk to your doctor about STL. This quick and nearly painless in-office procedure can help you get your glaucoma under control, and may even eliminate the need for other treatment.

Reach out to a center like Leader Heights Eye Center for more information.