Laser surgery has become increasingly popular as an intermediate step between drugs and traditional surgery in the treatment of glaucoma.
The type of laser surgery prescribed for glaucoma is very much dependent on the form of glaucoma the patient has and how severe it is. Treatment is carried out under a local anaesthetic so that there is little or no pain involved in any of the procedures, which take between 10 and 15 minutes.
The procedures are fairly simple. A laser beam (a high energy light beam) is focused upon the eye's drain, altering the eye's drainage system so that aqueous fluid is able to pass out of the drain easier, lowering the intraocular pressure (IOP). The length of time the intraocular pressure (IOP) remains lower depends on the type of laser surgery procedure, the type of glaucoma and many other factors including age and race.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
A safe and effective way to treat glaucoma is a primary treatment known as Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT).
This treatment can reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in a single procedure and reduces or eliminates the need for contemporary glaucoma medications.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty allows specific cells to be targeted, using pulses of low energy laser light to target melanin containing cells in a network of channels known as the trabecular meshwork.
The laser treatment leaves untreated areas of the trabecular meshwork intact, minimising trauma to the Schlemm's canal, which drains the fluid away from the trabecular meshwork. The selective targeting of the pigmented trabecular meshwork cells is the main advantage of SLT over traditional argon laser techniques.
The avoidance of any thermal damage to non pigmented cells or other local structures, such as the scleral beams of meshwork tissue allows the treatment to be safely repeated several times.
Common laser surgeries to treat glaucoma include:
- Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty to treat primary open-angle glaucoma
- Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty also to treat primary open-angle glaucoma
- Micropulse Laser Trabeculoplasty, a relatively new procedure which provides the same pressure-lowering effects as Selective Laser
- Trabeculoplasty and Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty.
- Laser Peripheral Iridotomy, used to treat narrow angles and narrow-angle glaucoma.
- Laser Cyclophotocoagulation, a two-laser procedure for open-angle glaucoma which is an alternative to filtering microsurgery that is typically used to treat eyes that have elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), or if other treatments have failed to alleviate the problem.
Benefits of glaucoma laser surgery
- Helps to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye
- Reduces the amount of medication required
- Some laser surgery procedures can be repeated to better control the intraocular pressure (IOP)
- Low risk unobtrusive procedures
- Quick and painless with on convalescence required
If you have been affected by any of the symptoms mentioned above, please don't hesitate to give us a call.
We have a team of experts on stand-by who are ready to take your call at our Manchester (0161 907 2685) Clinic or our Blackpool (01253 308 031) Clinic.