Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
Alan D. Mendelsohn
Eye Surgeons & Consultants
4651 Sheridan Street,
Hollywood, FL 33021
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) has emerged in 2019 as an outstanding first-line treatment option for glaucoma and ocular hypertension and is poised to become a global standard of care to treat these potentially blinding conditions. SLT has enjoyed a strong proven track record as safe and effective; however, with newer laser technology, SLT has now catapulted into the spotlight as more safe, more effective, and more economical than the previous “gold standard” of utilizing eye drops to treat glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) causes permanent damage to the optic nerve with a resultant irreversible loss of vision. Eye drops have been utilized for decades to treat glaucoma and ocular hypertension by lowering IOP and preserving vision or considerably minimizing the loss of vision. Unfortunately, as a result of side effects, ocular discomfort, redness, or non-compliance, the use of eye drops has had pitfalls, especially tragic, when loss of vision continues.
Landmark studies were performed comparing eye drops to SLT laser as the treatment for glaucoma and ocular hypertension with the compelling findings that SLT proved to be more safe, more effective, and more economical. Furthermore, patients on eye drops were dramatically more likely to need major, invasive eye surgery in the operating room due to treatment failures. Now, in 2019, as a game changer, experts resoundingly proclaim that “Selective laser trabeculoplasty [SLT] should be offered as a first-line treatment for open angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension, supporting a change in clinical practice.” SLT has been FDA approved since 2001 and is covered by medical insurance due to its outstanding effectiveness in treating glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
SLT is an in-office 10-minute procedure. Normal activities can be resumed immediately after the performance of the laser. SLT treatments usually last several years and can be subsequently repeated to maintain optimal IOP.