Early detection is the key to stopping the progress of glaucoma.
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There is no cure for glaucoma, however, today’s medications or surgery can control and prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma, and usually is aimed at lowering the intraocular pressure in the eye. This can be done either by lowering the production of fluid or by increasing the outflow of fluid from the eye. If you are experiencing glaucoma symptoms, we urge you to come in and speak to one of our professionals.
Some of the treatment options are:
- Topical medication (eye drops)
- Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
- Laser Iridotomy (for narrow angles or angle closure glaucoma)
- ECP (Endoscopic CylcoPhotocoagulation) or Diode Laser
- iStent® surgery
- Trabeculectomy or filtering surgery
- Systemic medication (pills) in cases where rapid reduction in pressure is needed
Glaucoma drops are often the first treatment for lowering the pressure in the eyes because they have been found to be very effective as long as they are used as prescribed. Your doctor may even use a combination of drop types in order to get the best results. Usually they must be used several times a day so it’s important for patients to create a routine schedule that they can keep. We find that patients are using smart phone technology to set alarms to remind them when it is time for their drops. These drops work quite well at keeping the pressure in the eye low but they can be expensive.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
For patients who can’t afford eye drops, have difficulty instilling them, have side effects from the drops, or prefer not to use them for various lifestyle reasons, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) may be another option. SLT is a fast, effective, and painless advancement in the treatment of primary open angle glaucoma. It can reduce the need and expense of eye drop medication that glaucoma patients usually need. The Eye Associates is proud to have been the first practice in Manatee County to offer this advanced treatment to our glaucoma patients.
Dr. Robert Friedman, The Eye Associates’ Fellowship Trained Glaucoma Specialist explains, “SLT is a ‘cold’ laser that works by using a specific wavelength to selectively target pigmented cells clogging the drainage chamber, thereby increasing fluid outflow and lowering the pressure in the eye. Because the short pulse of the laser does not allow time for heat to spread to other cells, SLT does not cause adverse scarring and damage to other tissues the way older laser treatments did.”
SLT is usually performed in a specially equipped laser room at our office and it only takes about three to five minutes. Prior to the procedure, only drops are needed to numb your eye; no injections or needles are used. The laser applications are made through a slit lamp microscope, similar to the one used for eye examinations. Your doctor will hold up a special lens to your eye as a high-energy beam of light is aimed at the lens and reflected onto the meshwork drainage system in the angle of the eye. You will not feel any pain during the procedure.
In order to monitor the eye pressure, you will need to plan on coming in for a few follow-up visits. It may take several weeks to see the full pressure-lowering effect of this procedure. Many patients are eventually able to discontinue use of some or all of their medications if they were using them prior to the laser.
Click the video below for more information on SLT.