Glaucoma is an eye disease caused by fluid buildup that places pressure on the optic nerve. Over time, the disease can lead to blindness. While there is no cure for the disease, early treatment can slow its progression and prevent blindness. At the Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey in West Orange, our doctors offer a wide range of glaucoma treatment options to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) and prevent vision loss. We can perform laser glaucoma surgery for patients who have not seen significant improvements with less invasive treatments.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, or SLT, is the most common surgical treatment for primary open-angle glaucoma. The procedure uses relatively low heat and selectively targets certain cells to improve fluid drainage. As a result, SLT is less painful than other types of laser glaucoma surgeries, and it results in less scar tissue. Additionally, it can be safely repeated if needed.
Patients with primary open-angle glaucoma are the best candidates for SLT. Generally, surgical treatments are considered a last resort, so our doctors will only recommend SLT if previous medications and eye drops have been unsuccessful at lowering your IOP.
After applying numbing eye drops to prevent any discomfort, our doctors will begin your SLT procedure. Using low-heat laser energy, our doctors will apply the laser to your eyes’ drainage tissue. The laser will selectively target certain cells of pigmented tissue. The procedure takes less than a half hour to complete, and you can return home shortly after. We recommend having another adult drive you home, as the numbing drops can distort your vision for several hours after surgery.
Most patients are back to their normal activities within a day or so. It is important to keep in mind that it can take as long as one to three months before the effects of the procedure are noticeable. We will monitor your IOP during this time to measure how much it drops after surgery.
Laser procedures like SLT can lower IOP by as much as 30 percent. Results may be less dramatic for patients already taking glaucoma medications. Many patients must continue taking their glaucoma medications, even after surgery, in order to maintain a safe IOP level. Surgery can, however, reduce the amount of medication needed to maintain that safe level.
The effects of SLT can last anywhere from one to five years, but must last at least six to 12 months in order to be considered successful. The effects of the initial SLT procedure will wear off over time. As they do, we can safely perform the procedure a second time, although repeated procedures are usually less effective, and the results wear off more quickly.
Regular eye exams are critical in detecting and managing glaucoma to prevent vision loss. If you have already been diagnosed with glaucoma but are not seeing results with medications, contact Laser Vision Correction Center of New Jersey to schedule a consultation.