Selective laser trabeculoplasty, commonly known as SLT, is a medical procedure that plays a crucial role in managing a condition called glaucoma. Leading consultant specialist optometrist Mr Don Williams provides an overview for patients, including an explanation of how it works and what to expect following the surgery.
Understanding Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
Selective laser trabeculoplasty, commonly referred to as SLT, is a sophisticated, non-invasive laser therapy aimed at managing intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma. This condition, characterised by potential damage to the optic nerve often due to increased ocular pressure, can be effectively controlled using SLT. Recognised and sanctioned by medical authorities, SLT stands as a significant advancement in combating the progression of glaucoma.
Mechanism of SLT action
The procedure targets the trabecular meshwork, the eye's intrinsic drainage mechanism, which is pivotal in regulating fluid balance. In glaucoma-afflicted eyes, this system's efficacy diminishes, leading to fluid accumulation and elevated ocular pressure. SLT employs a focused laser to selectively stimulate cells within the trabecular meshwork, thereby enhancing drainage and consequently lowering the intraocular pressure.
The SLT procedure: what to expect
Performed typically as an outpatient service, SLT does not necessitate an overnight hospital stay. The process begins with the application of anaesthetic eye drops to ensure patient comfort. Following this, a specialised lens is used to apply the laser precisely to the trabecular meshwork. The procedure is notably expeditious, lasting only about 10 to 15 minutes, and is well-received by most patients.
Post-SLT, patients may experience mild discomfort or irritation, which ordinarily subsides within a couple of days. There might also be a temporary increase in light sensitivity. Adhering to postoperative guidelines provided by your eye care specialist, including the usage of prescribed medications and attending subsequent appointments, is crucial for optimal recovery and results.
Weighing the risks and benefits
While SLT is predominantly associated with minor side effects like slight discomfort and light sensitivity, there is a rare possibility of increased eye pressure. Nevertheless, the procedure's advantages, such as reduced intraocular pressure and enhanced fluid drainage, typically surpass these minimal risks, contributing significantly to improved long-term ocular health.
For those interested in a detailed consultation, Mr Don Williams welcomes you to schedule a visit via his Top Doctors profile today.