Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty - Glaucoma Laser Surgery in Scottsdale, Arizona

SLT for glaucoma, or selective laser trabeculoplasty, is a type of laser surgery used to reduce the glaucoma patient’s intraocular pressure (IOP). It’s used when prescription eye drops don’t sufficiently lower the patient’s eye pressure or when the medication causes side effects. It is a minimally invasive surgery.

An SLT laser procedure may be used as a primary treatment for glaucoma. The procedure has been successfully used for at least 25 years in the U.S. and around the world.

Patients with primary or secondary open-angle glaucoma who must lower their IOP may be candidates for the SLT laser procedure. Your doctor makes the final decision about your candidacy for the glaucoma trabeculoplasty laser treatment, so be sure to schedule a consultation that will allow them to assess whether this treatment is best for you.

Keep in mind, SLT laser procedure is sometimes only considered after other treatment options have been exhausted. Patients with inflammation associated with their glaucoma also may not be preferred candidates for SLT.

What Happens When You Visit Our Arizona Glaucoma Specialist?

We will first take the time to listen and learn about your specific situation to develop a customized treatment plan that meets your needs. You will be asked a series of questions that will determine the cause of your glaucoma. You may have to answer questions about past medical history, family history, and lifestyle. This will help our Arizona glaucoma specialist to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment options specific to your needs.
The next step is using advanced diagnostic equipment that provides additional information regarding any damage or abnormality found on your eyes. You will leave the office with a clear understanding of what you are dealing with and where your treatment program should go from there.

After you have been diagnosed with glaucoma, we may suggest different types of surgery depending on how advanced it is or if you have other medical conditions that would make certain procedures risky for your health. Each type of surgery has its own pros and cons, so it’s important to understand what those are before deciding on a treatment plan. You may hear the terms: YAG laser trabeculoplasty (YLT), glaucoma drainage implants, laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI), or Ahmed shunt surgery at this point.

Take a look at the Arora Eye Difference for yourself.

What is SLT - Glaucoma Laser Surgery

SLT laser procedure is approved as a glaucoma treatment by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). It is covered by medical insurance and Medicare. The cost for the SLT procedure will vary with insurance and any copayments and deductibles.
You may still need IOP lowering medicines after the SLT procedure. Although the SLT procedure can help manage your IOP for years, it is not a glaucoma cure. Continue to visit your eye care professional for appropriate follow-up.

SLT Laser Procedure for Glaucoma

The SLT laser procedure drains fluids and tissue from the eye, which, in turn, lowers the patient’s IOP. Patients with IOP usually show improvements after the SLT laser procedure in one to three months.
The glaucoma trabeculoplasty is performed with a cold laser because minimal heat energy is absorbed and taken up by the eye’s pigmented tissue. For this reason, the SLT laser procedure is less painful and produces less scarring. SLT glaucoma surgery is considered to have a better side effect profile when compared to glaucoma medicines:
  • Most glaucoma patients experience mild postoperative inflammation that is treatable with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or eye drops.

  • Approximately five percent of patients experience elevated intraocular pressure after surgery. The condition is usually temporary and resolves within 24 hours.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty

SLT glaucoma reduces the patient’s IOP by approximately 30 percent when used as a first step in glaucoma treatment.

  • • This result favorably compares prostaglandin analogs, the strongest and most frequently used drugs used to manage glaucoma.
  • • Patients already taking glaucoma medicines may see a reduced IOP level after SLT and may no longer require other glaucoma medications.
  • • Colors that appear faded
  • • Most patients experience benefits from SLT glaucoma for one to five years or even longer.
  • • A small percentage of patients see reduced benefits of the procedure in just six to 12 months.
If the patient’s procedure effectively lowers IOP for several years, it’s possible to repeat it. A repeated SLT laser surgery might or might not successfully lower the patient’s IOP or reduce IOP as well as the first procedure. If repeated several times, the SLT might not be effective at all. In that event, the patient is prescribed glaucoma medications to reduce their IOP instead.
Alternative laser therapies for patients with glaucoma include micropulse laser trabeculoplasty (MLT) and argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT). The IOP lowering potential of SLT, MLT, and ALT are similar. In some cases, the first SLT procedure won’t lower IOP. Glaucoma medicines or other surgical treatments may be used instead.

Request an SLT Evaluation Appointment

Contact us to learn more about this procedure or any of your eye care needs. Make an appointment to discuss your customized treatment plan with Dr. Arora today.