The SLT Laser is a breakthrough in glaucoma therapy. In Glaucoma there is an abnormal buildup of pressure in the eye due to a defect in the drainage of the fluid out of the eye. (This fluid is inside the eye, and is not related to excess tearing on the outside.) The very common open angle type of Glaucoma causes gradual loss of vision due to slow but progressive damage to the optic nerve (nerve of vision). In this condition the damage to the nerve is related to the excess pressure in the eye.
Traditionally, the initial treatment of this condition has been eyedrops. But eyedrops have their limitations. These include side effects, local and systemic; problems with patients remembering to use the drops (poor compliance); and the considerable cost of medications, which can be hundreds of dollars a year even with a prescription plan.
The SLT laser can now be used as an initial therapy for most patients with glaucoma, or as a second therapy to assist the action of drops, or to replace the need for a drop. In contrast to drops, the SLT laser has no long term risk of side effects, is brief and usually painless, avoids compliance problems, since it works 24/7, and is normally fully covered by insurances (Medicare pays 80%). It does not affect your lifestyle.
Many people will only need the treatment just once per eye, but if the laser stops working, or the glaucoma gets worse, it can usually be repeated, without harming the eye. This is in contrast to former laser treatments, which could only be used once or twice.
The SLT laser works in about 90% of patients. Drops are always an option if the laser either doesn't work, or doesn't work well enough on its own.