Laser Surgery Can Treat Glaucoma
Sometimes, medications don't sufficiently lower the intraocular eye pressure from glaucoma. A procedure called Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, or a SLT, can help. Ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Reeves and optometrist Dr. Amy Spanfelner specialize in treating glaucoma at Reeve Woods Eye Center in Chico.
What Kind of Glaucoma Treatment Is Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)?
SLT is a treatment for open-angle treatment in glaucoma; or eyes in which the drainage system is still open. It's the next step when eye drops and other medications don't work.
SLT is a "cold" laser treatment. The laser is tuned, so it is only absorbed by certain pigments in the eye. It leaves surrounding tissues unaffected, so there is less pain and less scarring.
Are There Any Risks from Treating Glaucoma with SLT?
One of the reasons ophthalmologists recommend SLT for patients is the relatively low risk of side effects. The SLT procedure is no riskier than most glaucoma medications.
There can be inflammation after the procedure, but it's usually mild. It may be treated with steroid eye drops or not need any medication at all. About one in twenty patients will have elevated eye pressure after the procedure, but this can be managed by medications and usually goes away after 24 hours.
How Well Does SLT Work as Glaucoma Treatment?
SLT usually lowers eye pressure by about 30 percent for patients who aren't already on glaucoma medication. That's comparable to the most powerful medications. SLT doesn't lower pressure quite as much for patients who are already on medicines for glaucoma.
SLT usually lowers eye pressure for one to five years. The procedure eventually wears off but can be repeated. When you have SLT, you keep all of your options for further treatment open. The outcome of medications and other kinds of surgery are not affected by the procedure.
Will I Still Need to Use Other Glaucoma Treatments?
SLT isn't a cure for glaucoma. Just as some patients need multiple medications to control their eye pressure, some patients will still need one medication for glaucoma after they have had SLT. You will still need regular visits with your ophthalmologist and glaucoma aftercare team.
SLT is usually covered by health insurance.
We Offer SLT Procedures Here in Chico
Our ophthalmologist, Dr. Robert B. Reeves, specializes in the treatment of glaucoma. Our optometrist Dr. Amy Spanfelner specializes in glaucoma aftercare. Request your appointment online or call us at (530) 899-2244. Reeve Woods Eye Center offers quality care for your eyes at 280 Cohasset Rd, Chico, CA 95926.