Treating Glaucoma with Laser Trabeculoplasty: Protecting Vision
By Walter Choate on August 26, 2016
When the people of Nashville experience some kind of vision problem or issue with their eye health, they know that they cane come to us. Our eye care can help with the proper diagnosis and treatment of various issues, even advanced conditions that can lead to total vision loss.
When it comes to glaucoma treatment and vision management, patients have a number of surgical and non-surgical options available. Let's take a moment to consider laser trabeculoplasty and why that may be helpful in preventing total vision loss in glaucoma patients.
About Laser Trabeculoplasty
Laser trabeculoplasty is a treatment for glaucoma that can help improve drainage of the eyes, reducing the intraocular pressure in the process. Laser trabeculoplasty is often used in combination with medications designed to lower eye pressure and promote drainage to achieve optimal results.
Types of Laser Trabeculoplasty
There are two kinds of laser trabeculoplasty:
- Argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT)
- Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT)
ALT was introduced in the '70s and widely used to treat glaucoma in the late '80s and early '90s. Today, more eye care specialists rely on SLT given its added safety and effectiveness.
Candidates for Laser Trabeculoplasty
Good candidates for laser trabeculoplasty are people who suffer from open-angle glaucoma. This is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for roughly 90 percent of all cases. In open-angle glaucoma, the angle where the iris and cornea meet is just as wide as it should be, and yet heightened intraocular pressure occurs. Candidates should also be aware of the risks and benefits of the procedure and have realistic expectations with regard to the treatment of glaucoma and the prevention of further vision loss.
What to Expect During Laser Trabeculoplasty
During the laser trabeculoplasty procedure, an eye surgeon will use numbing drops in order to eliminate pain and discomfort in the eyes. A special slit lamp microscope and lens will then be held up to the eye in order for the laser to be properly positioned and aimed. The laser will issue short pulses to target select tissues within the eye. By targeting the trabecular meshwork, the laser promotes drainage and reduces intraocular pressure in the process.
After the laser has done its work, the eye surgeon will administer additional eyedrops in order to prevent a rise in intraocular pressure as a response to the surgery.
How Effective Is Laser Trabeculoplasty?
SLT is rather effective at reducing intraocular pressure and preventing further vision loss. Some studies estimate that laser trabeculoplasty techniques can reduce pressure within the eye by as much as 30 percent. This is comparable to some of the glaucoma medications that are available today.
How Long Will the Effects of Laser Trabeculoplasty Last?
With successful treatment, the reduction of intraocular pressure from laser trabeculoplasty will last anywhere from 1 year to 5 years. In rare instances, the effects of laser trabeculoplasty can last longer.
Other Treatments for Glaucoma
While laser trabeculoplasty is helpful for many patients, it isn't always the ideal option for everyone. During a consultation, we can discuss SLT as well as other surgical and non-surgical treatment options that may be right for you. Our goal will be to ensure you have good vision that lasts as long as possible.
Learn More About Treating Glaucoma
To learn more about different treatments for glaucoma and how we can help you preserve your vision, be sure to contact our team of eye care specialists today. We look forward to your visit and discussing these matters in greater detail.
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“I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam.” Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient