Laser Glaucoma FAQ

Frequently Asked Laser Glaucoma Questions

Here are some answers to some Frequently Asked Questions regarding Laser Glaucoma and the treatment of Glaucoma through SLT.

  1. What is SLT?
  2. What are the advantages of SLT?
  3. How is SLT performed?
  4. Will I feel anything with the laser treatment?
  5. How often do I need to receive SLT treatments?
  6. How does SLT work?
  7. How do I know SLT has worked?
  8. Is SLT right for me?
  9. Are there other options available?
  10. Does SLT work for all types of Glaucoma?
  11. Will I still need to continue using my eye drops following the SLT procedure?
  12. How long will I have to wait to experience the full treatment effect of the SLT laser?
  13. How long is the recovery?
  14. What are the side effects?
  15. SLT Post-Procedure
  16. How does Laser for Glaucoma work?
  17. Benefits of SLT
  18. Early Detection

 

What is SLT?

SLT stands for “Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty”. This is a non-destructive laser procedure used to treat glaucoma by reducing the pressure in the eye.

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What are the advantages of SLT?

There are a few key reasons why SLT may be deemed beneficial for you:

  • Safe: SLT is not associated with systemic side effects or the compliance and cost issues of medications.
  • Selective: SLT utilizes selective photothermolysis to target only specific cells, leaving the surrounding tissue intact.
  • Smart: SLT stimulates the body’s natural mechanisms to enhance outflow of the fluid in your eye.
  • Sensible: SLT therapy is reimbursed by Medicare and many other insurance providers, which minimizes your out-of-pocket expenses.

SLT does not rely on medicines, instead, uses an advanced laser system to target only specific cells of the eye—those containing melanin, a natural pigment. This allows for only these cells to be affected, leaving surrounding tissue in tact. As a result, your body’s own healing response helps lower the pressure in your eye.

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How is SLT performed?

SLT is an outpatient procedure. You will sit in a conventional exam chair, where the doctor will use a slit lamp to examine your eye. The same slit lamp contains the SLT laser. During the procedure, your Houston / Pasadena laser eye surgeon will put anesthetic drops in your eye to numb it, and then place a lens on your eye for better viewing. The laser is applied to the edge of your pupil. The entire procedure only takes a few moments.

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Will I feel anything with the laser treatment?

The treatment does not cause any pain. You may see a green flash of light, and feel nothing from the laser. The lens used on your eye may cause some redness.

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How often do I need to receive SLT treatments?

One application typically lasts for many years. Depending on your individual circumstances and goals, another application may be needed at some point in the future.

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How does SLT work?

SLT works by using laser light to stimulate the body’s own healing response to lower your eye pressure. Using a special wavelength and energy, the laser affects only pigmented (melanin containing) cells of your eye. SLT improves the flow of fluid in the eye, which in turn lowers your eye pressure.

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How do I know SLT has worked?

There is no sensation associated with an SLT procedure. You will require follow up visits with your doctor to monitor the success of the treatment.

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Is SLT right for me?

Only your doctor knows what is best for your individual needs. SLT may be the right option for you, simply ask your doctor to find out more.

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Are there other options available?

There are other laser, surgery or medical options available. You should talk to your doctor to find out which approach is best for you.

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Does SLT work for all types of Glaucoma?

There are different types of glaucoma. While SLT works on most, it does not work for all. Your doctor will know the appropriate course of action.

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Will I still need to continue using my eye drops following the SLT procedure?

Maybe. Each individual is different. Although there is a chance you can eliminate or reduce medications, SLT cannot guarantee this.

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How long will I have to wait to experience the full treatment effect of the SLT laser?

People can respond as soon as an hour after treatment, or as much as a few months later. Continued monitoring and follow up with determine the response of therapy.

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How long is the recovery?

The doctor may treat your eye with anti-inflammatory eye drops that will be continued for a few days after the procedure. Patients have no limitations after the treatment and are able to drive home. Your doctor will schedule a follow up appointment to evaluate your results.

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What are the side effects?

Though infrequent, possible side effects may include inflammation, temporary increase in eye pressure, eye pain, or inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye. SLT Pre-Procedure SLT is usually performed in the physician’s office and only takes a few minutes. Prior to the procedure, eye drops will be given to prepare the eye for treatment. The laser applications are applied through a regular physician microscope (slit lamp), similar to the one used for eye examinations.

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SLT Post-Procedure

Your eye pressure may drop as quickly as in a day after having SLT performed. The doctor may treat the eye with anti-inflammatory eye drops that will be continued for a few days after the procedure. Patients have no limitations after their procedure and are able to drive home. Patients will be scheduled for a follow up appointment to allow the physician to evaluate the results. SLT is a very effective treatment and can be used in many different types and stages of glaucoma. Ask your physician for SLT by name.

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How does Laser for Glaucoma work?

Laser surgery:

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty is a non-invasive procedure which increases the outflow of fluid from the eye and lowers the pressure. It is effective in 80% of people and, many times, we can reduce the number of drops people use or eliminate the need for drops altogether. The average duration of effect is three to five years and can be repeated if necessary. The SLT is a painless procedure performed in the office and takes less than five minutes to perform. One eye is treated at a time and the second eye is usually treated 1-2 weeks after the first eye.

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Benefits of SLT

  • Safe: SLT is not associated with systemic side effects or the compliance and cost issues of medications.
  • Selective: SLT utilizes selective photothermolysis to target only specific cells, leaving the surrounding tissue intact.
  • Smart: SLT stimulates the body’s natural mechanisms to enhance outflow of the fluid in your eye which in turn lowers your eye pressure.
  • Sensible: SLT therapy is reimbursed by Medicare and many other insurance providers, which minimizes your out-of-pocket expenses. On average, SLT will cost you about $70 per eye. This is about 1 bottle of drops (1 month supply) or possibly 2 bottles if you have a good drug insurance plan.

Endoscopic CycloPhotocoagulation (ECP) is another type of laser procedure. Instead of treating the drainage canal, ECP treats the ciliary body and reduces the amount of fluid production thereby reducing the intraocular pressure. ECP is usually preformed along with cataract surgery, but can be done on any patients who have had their cataract removed. This procedure is done on an outpatient basis and can usually reduce the number of drops people use or eliminate the need for drops altogether.

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Early detection

Vision loss from glaucoma is permanent but can usually be prevented with early detection and treatment. Glaucoma management is usually a lifelong process that requires frequent monitoring and constant treatment. Since there is no way to determine if glaucoma is under control based on how a person feels, doctor visits should be on a regular basis. Selective Laser Therapy (SLT) and Endoscopic CycloPhotocoagulation (ECP) are advancements over other lasers that have been used in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma for more than two decades.

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Eye Center of Texas is a leading provider of vision correction treatments in Houston. In addition to offering advanced glaucomatreatment, the practice performs LASIK and cataract surgery in Sugar Land / Houston, TX. Other frequently performed procedures include laser cataract surgery and PRK.

Our Locations

Houston

6565 W. Loop S. Suite 650

Bellaire, TX 77401

Medical Office: 713-797-1010

Medical Fax: 713-357-7276

LASIK/ReSTOR: 713-395-1515

LASIK/ReSTOR Fax: 713-357-7278

Pasadena

4415 Crenshaw Road

Pasadena, TX 77504

Medical Office: 281-977-8800

Medical Fax: 281-977-8877

Sugar Land

15400 S.W. Freeway, Suite 301

Sugar Land, TX 77478

Medical Office: 281-277-1010

Medical Fax: 281-277-4504

Clear Lake

455 E. Medical Center Blvd., Suite 110

Webster, TX 77598

Medical Office: 281-332-1397

Medical Fax: 281-338-1215

Katy

Kingsland Medical Plaza 777 S. Fry Road Suite 102

Katy, TX 77450

Medical Office: 713-797-1010

Medical Fax: 713-357-7276

The Woodlands/Conroe

690 South Loop 336 West, Suite 205 (The building is 1mile West of I-45, just after Medical Center Blvd)

Conroe, TX 77304

Medical Office: 713-797-1010

Medical Fax: 713-357-7276