Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a type of laser surgery used to treat open-angle glaucoma. The procedure offers an alternative for those glaucoma patients who have been unresponsive to pressure-lowering eye drops or unsuccessfully treated with traditional laser surgery.
The SLT laser selectively treats cells within the trabecular meshwork, a spongy material that acts as a drain for the eye. During the procedure, surgeons hold a special lens to the eye. A high-intensity beam of light is aimed at the lens and reflected onto the trabecular meshwork. Next, the laser creates a series of evenly spaced burns in the meshwork. This stretches the holes in the meshwork and allows for better drainage.
SLT is performed as an outpatient procedure using a local anesthetic. The procedure takes about fifteen minutes to complete. If glaucoma is present in both eyes, separate surgeries will be scheduled, generally one to two weeks apart. Following surgery, patients will need to schedule several post-operative visits so that the doctor can monitor eye pressure. It is also important that patients continue to use pressure-lowering eye drops as prescribed by their doctor.
The effects of SLT surgery can diminish with time, but one advantage of SLT surgery is that it can be repeated. As with any surgery, complications can occur with SLT. The most common side effect of surgery is inflammation, which can be treated with drops.