For most of you reading this article, the first question must surely be “What exactly is SLT?”. Short for “Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty”, this is a particular form of laser surgery that has been used to lower intraocular pressure in glaucoma. So how exactly does that work? When someone uses eye drop medications that are not working the way they should, this means that the eye pressure has not been lowered enough and there are some significant side effects that are visible as well.
Having been used extensively as an initial treatment for glaucoma, this specific mode of treatment has been fairly popular for a good 25 years now. Although it has not been around for very long as compared to other such treatments, SLT treatment is preferred across the globe for its promising results. However, what is for absolute certain is the fact that one definitely needs to have a concise bunch of questions in their mind before they consider this treatment as a viable option. Be it the case of SLT glaucoma or even laser SLT glaucoma, there are really no two ways about that.
On that note, let us delve into the top five questions that most people have while choosing this type of treatment
How Exactly Does It Work?
Once laser energy is applied to the drainage issue inside your eye, this kickstarts a biological and chemical change in the tissue. This, in turn, leads to the draining of fluid from the eye which ends up lowering the intraocular pressure (IOP) to a considerable degree. However, the results usually end up taking at least 2 months to appear.
Is There a Reason Why is It Called Selective?
Since the specific type of laser used is taken up only by selected pigmented tissue in the eye, it has a minimal amount of heat energy absorption. Because the technique itself is as precise as it gets, there is a minimal amount of pain involved and it ends up producing less scar tissue.
What Do We Do If The Treatment Does Not Work?
The main indication of this will be zero change in the level of IOP. If this happens, you can choose to go with other options such as medication and advanced surgery. Most of all, the laser treatment does not affect the success rate of the other options in any way, whatsoever.
What are The Risks?
On the whole, there are much fewer risks associated with SLT as compared to other glaucoma medications. Even though it is mild, one can expect the occurrence of post-operative inflammation and this is usually treated successfully with eye drops.
How Effective is It?
In the initial stages of therapy, it has been proven that it lowers the IOP by at least 30%. However, the effect may be reduced if the patient has already been on glaucoma medications for a while. For the most part, the results tend to last between one to five years. Anything less than a year is not considered successful.
All in all, one of the most common misconceptions people tend to have is that SLT is not an ideal option for initial treatment. Not only is that not true at all, but the fact of the matter is that it can even be used as an additional treatment when other treatments do not do the trick of adequately reducing the eye pressure.
Plus, you would do well to keep in mind the fact that SLT is not so much of a cure for glaucoma. More so it is one of the main tools to ensure that it stays under control. There are a lot of people who have found the treatment fairly effective in general, However, one cannot make the claim that it cures glaucoma completely as there are many other related factors at work as well.