Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT): An overview

Written by: Mr Don Williams
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

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-procedure expectations


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. 

By Mr Don Williams

Mr Don Williams is a distinguished consultant specialist optometrist operating in Birmingham. Renowned for his expertise, Mr Williams specialises in treating a broad spectrum of eye conditions. His primary areas of focus include dry eye, glaucoma, YAG LASER Capsulotomy, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), Keratoconus, and general ophthalmology. He is the esteemed founder of the Edgbaston Private Eye Clinic, a premier institution committed to providing specialised eye treatments and services. He has over 15 years of experience in the field of optometry, mainly glaucoma care.  

Educationally, Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the Institute of Vision Science at Aston University. His commitment to academic excellence is further evidenced by his Master of Science in Advanced Glaucoma Diagnostic Detection, where he achieved a distinction. Presently, he is enhancing his academic portfolio through an ongoing Master of Science in Advanced Clinical Ophthalmology at the University of Plymouth, slated for completion between 2023 and 2025. His educational journey encompasses extensive training at prestigious institutions, including Aston University, Ulster University, Bradford University, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Cardiff University, and currently at the University of Plymouth.
Mr. Williams boasts over a decade of active engagement in community ophthalmology. He has dedicated the past ten years to managing glaucoma patients within the previously known Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Besides leading a thriving private practice, he has recently taken on the role of Clinical Lead for Community Ophthalmology Services in the NHS in Birmingham. He is also a proud member of the General Optical Council’s Specialist Register in Therapeutics.
In addition to his clinical duties, Mr. Williams is a respected figure in the academic sphere, serving as a Visiting Specialist Lecturer at the University of Plymouth since July 2023. Mr Williams' exemplary career and contributions to the field of optometry underscore his dedication to excellence in patient care, education, and advancement in ophthalmic practices. His extensive training, coupled with a profound commitment to ongoing learning and community service, positions him as a leader and a highly respected professional in his field. He is fluent in English and proficient in French. 

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