Offering Advanced Technologies to Effectively Treat Glaucoma
The goal of glaucoma therapy is to protect the optic nerve and prevent loss of peripheral vision by lowering eye pressure. To individualize treatment, we carefully consider each patient’s lifestyle and needs and then evaluate the risk/benefit ratio of each treatment regimen.
While eyedrop medications that lower eye pressure are the mainstay of therapy, several safe and effective laser treatments provide excellent alternatives or additional treatments.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty [SLT]:
The newest glaucoma therapy SLT takes only a few minutes to perform in the office. Eye drops are used to prepare the eye for treatment. The doctor controls the laser through a special microscope similar to the one used for an eye examination.
To allow the laser to have maximal effect while remaining gentle, each eye receives two SLT treatments, with only one half of the eye treated at a time. SLT targets specific cells within the eye that contain melanin (a natural pigment). It improves outflow of the fluid in the eye and lowers eye pressure by using laser light to stimulate the body’s natural healing response.
The laser’s special wavelength and energy targets only the melanin-containing cells of the eye. SLT is not associated with systemic side effects and is easier (and less expensive) for the patient than eye medications. It is a covered benefit of Medicare and many other insurance plans; this minimizes your out-of-pocket expense.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy:
The eye’s internal drainage canals are located inside the angle between the iris and cornea. If the drain canal becomes very narrow or closes, the entrance to the drain can close, causing an acute very high eye pressure, which can cause severe pain or loss of vision. Performing a peripheral iridotomy to widen the angle can prevent both an acute attack of angle closure glaucoma and chronic angle closure glaucoma.
This safe and effective laser procedure is performed in the office. To widen the angle where the drainage canals are located, the doctor creates a small microscopic opening in the peripheral iris, which provides an alternate pathway for fluid to flow out of the eye.