Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
In the front compartment of the eye is a circulating fluid called aqueous humour. This fluid is constantly being produced and drained away to maintain a normal eye pressure (intraocular pressure).
Sometimes the drainage system can become unable to cope, causing the eye pressure to rise to a point where it can cause optic (eye) nerve damage. You may already be using eye drops to help reduce eye pressure to protect the optic nerve from further damage.
Sometimes eye drops are not enough to lower eye pressure alone and SLT treatment may be beneficial.
What does the laser do?
Around the rim of the iris is a drainage system called the trabecular meshwork. The meshwork acts like guttering on a house to slowly drain away the aqueous humour.
To help drain fluid from the eye a laser is used to try and unclog the guttering and help lower the eye pressure.
The benefits of this treatment in lowering eye pressure might not be clear for several weeks.
How does it work?
A laser is fired around the rim of the iris. The laser beam lasts an instant and is not painful.
Your eye will have a contact lens placed upon it to help focus the laser energy. This treatment is used generally to assist eye drops in lowering eye pressure, not as a substitute, to better control eye pressure.
What to expect
- You will be in the clinic for at least 2 hours.
- You will have eye drops instilled to prepare the eye for the treatment, so you will be unable to drive home.
- Local anaesthetic drops will also be instilled before the procedure.
- Treatment is delivered through a lens which rests against the eye.
- Please take all of your usual medications prior to your appointment, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
- Continue all other regular drops (ie glaucoma drops) after laser treatment.
- Side effects may include discomfort, sensitivity to light (photophobia), headache, or blurry vision for several hours afterwards. Wearing sunglasses (with your prescription, if required) can make the trip home more comfortable.