Glaucoma - What is laser surgery for treatment of glaucoma?
Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT) and Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) are laser surgical procedures used for patients with open-angle glaucoma to help lower intraocular pressure (IOP). ALT and SLT are used to treat the trabecular meshwork — the mesh-like drainage canals surrounding the iris — that serves as the eye’s drainage system. The goal of treatment with ALT and SLT is to improve the flow of fluid out of the eye, helping to lower IOP. ALT and SLT are typically performed in an outpatient surgery center. The procedure usually takes about five to ten minutes. First, anesthetic eye drops are placed in your eye. The laser device looks similar to the examination microscope that Doctor Murphy uses to look at your eyes at each office visit. You will experience a flash of light with each laser application. Most people are comfortable and do not experience any significant pain, although some may feel a little pressure in their eye during the laser procedure.
It will take several weeks to determine how much your pressure will be lowered with ALT or SLT. You may require additional laser or glaucoma-drainage surgery to lower the IOP if it is not sufficiently lowered after the first laser treatment. In most cases, glaucoma eye drops are still necessary to control your eye pressure. However, the laser procedure may lessen the amount of glaucoma medication you need.