SLT – The gentle alternative for glaucoma therapy


What is SLT?

Also known as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, SLT is a simple, yet highly effective laser procedure that reduces the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma. It is performed in Dr Hornsby's office, and typically takes no more than five minutes.

How does it work?

SLT uses short pulses of low-energy light to target the melanin, or pigment, in specific cells of the affected eye. In response, the body’s natural healing mechanisms go to work to rebuild these cells. This rebuilding process improves drainage and lowers intraocular pressure. The surrounding, non-pigmented cells – as well as the rest of the eye structure – are untouched and undamaged.

Does SLT hurt?

No. SLT is painless, and there are no side effects to worry about.

What happens during the procedure?

Prior to the treatment, eye drops are administered to prepare the eye and provide mild anaesthesia. Then, gentle pulses of light are delivered through a specially designed microscope. The entire process takes just a few minutes. When it’s completed, Dr Hornsby may treat your eye with anti-inflammatory eye drops.

One to three days after the procedure, your intraocular pressure should drop significantly. And of course, Dr Hornsby will want to re-check the treated eye during periodic follow-up visits.

How often can I have SLT done?

SLT is gentle, non-thermal and non-invasive – which allows the procedure to be repeated, if necessary. In comparison, repeat treatments of previous approaches in laser therapy were either extremely limited or not possible.

Who will benefit from SLT?

If you fit into any of the following categories, you’re a good candidate for SLT:
  • If you have primary open-angle, pseudoexfoliation, or pigmentary glaucoma. (If you’re not sure, ask Dr Hornsby)
  • If you are intolerant of glaucoma medications, or have difficulty taking them as prescribed
  • If you are currently undergoing glaucoma drug therapy and wish to combine it with SLT
  • If it is difficult for you to commit to regular follow-up treatments, due to finances, lack of transportation, or other limitations
  • If you have a history of failed ALT (argon laser trabeculoplasty) treatments

What if SLT doesn’t work for me?

SLT lowers intraocular pressure by an average of 25 percent in 75 to 85 precent of patients treated. For those that do not respond, other forms of treatment, including traditional drug therapy, can still be highly effective.

Why is it important to relieve intraocular pressure?

The eye’s aqueous fluid is constantly produced and drained at a balanced rate to ensure the health of the lens and cornea. When this drainage becomes blocked, intraocular pressure increases and open-angle glaucoma (the most common form of glaucoma) occurs. In order to preserve eyesight, it is critical to decrease and control intraocular pressure.

What are my other treatment options?

  • Drug therapy is the most common form of treatment for open-angle glaucoma; however there are side effects, and medications aren’t effective for all patients – and you have to remember to take your medicine every day
  • If non-surgical methods fail, surgery may be attempted to create a new drainage channel. Unfortunately, this is a highly invasive procedure with a risk of bleeding and infections
  • Argon laser trabeculoplasty was formerly the most widely used laser treatment for glaucoma. There are many problems associated with ALT, including irreversible damage to the eye, along with permanent scarring


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Address

Suite 15, Mater Medical Centre
76 Willetts Road
Mackay QLD 4740

Phone

(07) 4942 3301

Fax

(07) 4942 9815
GLAUCOMA
Cause: The eye’s aqueous fluid is constantly produced and drained at a balanced rate to ensure the health of the lens and cornea. When this drainage becomes blocked, intraocular pressure increases and open-angle glaucoma (the most common form of glaucoma) occurs.

Solution: SLT uses short pulses of low-energy light to target the melanin in specific cells of the eye. In response, the body’s natural healing mechanisms go to work to rebuild these cells. This rebuilding process improves drainage and lowers intraocular pressure.
Fig 1. Progression of glaucoma.
Image - Glaucoma Progression
Fig 2. SLT - Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty.
Image - SLT

Disclaimer

The information provided here is for general education only and should not be construed as individual medical advice. For advice relevant to your particular situation, please speak to Dr Hornsby.