Most people are familiar with the eye disease Glaucoma but few are aware of why Glaucoma is such a threat to vision. Most serious eye diseases usually produce symptoms that are visible and make patients uncomfortable or disturb their vision. Glaucoma begins without any symptoms or obvious loss of vision. If left untreated, Glaucoma will lead to progressive, permanent vision loss. This is what makes it essential to diagnose and treat Glaucoma as early in its course as possible.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for patients between the ages of 18-65 years of age. Primary Open Angle Glaucoma is the most common type of Glaucoma due to an increase in the Intraocular Pressure (IOP). In the event you are at risk for Angle Closure Glaucoma, you may initially be prescribed medication to lower the pressure and secondly recommended to have a laser treatment to produce a small opening or hole in the iris. The laser treatment is called Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, or SLT, and has been very successful in preventing reoccurrences.
Glaucoma is a collective term that is used to characterize a broad range of eye problems that damage the optic nerve and potentially cause loss of vision. Often patients are under the impression that Glaucoma is simply due to a high pressure within the eye called Intraocular Pressure or IOP and generally falls within some range that is considered “normal”. While a high intraocular pressure certainly can be one cause of Glaucoma, and in fact is the most common cause of Glaucoma, a high IOP may not be the only cause of Glaucoma.
In the event you are at risk for Angle Closure Glaucoma or in the event you have Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma, you may initially be prescribed medication to begin to lower the pressure and secondly, will be recommended to have a laser treatment to produce a small opening or hole in the Iris so that the Aqueous Humor Can quickly and efficiently drain from the eye. The Laser Treatment for Glaucoma is called Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty or (SLT) and has been very successful in treating Angle Closure Glaucoma and preventing recurrences.
The SLT laser treatment is quickly becoming the preferred treatment for Glaucoma for a number of important reasons. First, SLT appears to be considerably gentler on the eye. Second, should the effect decrease over time, SLT can be repeated several times in order to control the pressure and slow or halt the progression of the disease. SLT treatment is an excellent option for Glaucoma patients who are unable to use eye drops to obtain control of Intraocular Pressure (IOP), but as a primary treatment to help patients avoid needing to use eye drops altogether.
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 intact. As a result, your body’s own healing response helps lower the pressure in your eye.