Glaucoma Laser Therapy
Glaucoma Laser Therapy – In Office
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which pressure inside the eye, also known as intraocular pressure, rises to a level that causes damage to the optic nerve causing vision loss or blindness. Clear eye fluid is produced by the ciliary body which enters the eye and drains out of the eye through tiny passages known as the trabecular meshwork. People with glaucoma are unable to drain the fluid effectively which results in a rise of intraocular pressure.
Some cases of glaucoma can be treated with medications. Other cases require either laser or traditional surgery to lower eye pressure. Of the two types of surgery, laser surgery is the most frequently used procedure in the treatment of glaucoma. Conventional surgery is usually performed after all other treatment methods for glaucoma, including laser surgery, have proven unsuccessful. In deciding what method of surgery to treat glaucoma, your surgeon will take into consideration your medical health and history, and the severity of your condition.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, or SLT, an FDA approved laser procedure for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma, is an advanced treatment option for glaucoma patients that lowers eye pressure and increases fluid drainage. SLT is a minimally invasive laser procedure that uses very low levels of energy to selectively pinpoint the areas of the trabecular meshwork, relieving the symptoms of glaucoma. If needed, the SLT procedure can be repeated several times without causing damage to surrounding tissue.
Performed as an in-office procedure, SLT takes just a few minutes yet provides long-term results. SLT controls glaucoma symptoms for up to 5 years with no need for additional medication, and relieves symptoms by promoting the body’s natural healing response. There are no major risks or complications associated with SLT and the procedure is covered by most insurance companies.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)
Laser peripheral iridotomy, also known as LPI, is a laser procedure used to lower eye pressure in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma. Narrow-angle glaucoma is a condition that occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea in the eye is too small, resulting in a blockage of fluid in the drainage channel of the eye. Using a laser, a small hole is made in the iris to increase the angle between the iris and cornea allowing fluid to drain from the eye.
Laser peripheral iridotomy is an outpatient procedure. Patients are given eye drops to constrict the pupils. Once these have taken effect, an anesthetic is applied to the eye and the laser treatment can begin. The doctor precisely targets a spot in the periphery of the iris and uses laser pulses to create a tiny hole. The procedure is completed in a few minutes and most patients experience little to no discomfort.
After the laser treatment, the patient’s intraocular pressure will be monitored several times to ensure the LPI was successful. Patients may experience irritation and blurry vision after the procedure which should disappear within a few days. Topical corticosteroids will need to be applied to the eye for approximately one week to prevent swelling and promote healing.