Glaucoma Surgery – Austin Eye
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. In fact, glaucoma is the #1 cause of blindness in the black population. Glaucoma occurs when the fluid pressure inside your eye is too high. As a result of the elevated eye pressure (aka intraocular pressure), the nerve connecting the eye with the brain, known as the optic nerve, becomes damaged. Any damage to the optic nerve produces a permanent and irreversible loss of vision. If left undetected and untreated, the optic nerve in a person with glaucoma becomes damaged beyond repair and can result in total blindness.
During a comprehensive exam, an Austin eye doctor at Austin Eye will evaluate you for glaucoma by measuring the fluid pressure within your eye and inspecting your optic nerve. Additional testing to test for glaucoma may include visual field testing in which we use a computer to create a map of your peripheral vision, optical coherence tomography (aka OCT) which uses a laser instrument to measure the thickness of the optic nerve, gonioscopy which uses a special instrument to look at the area of the eye through which fluid leaves the eye, and measurement of the corneal thickness. If your ophthalmologist determines that you are at risk for developing glaucoma, then you may be asked to undergo the above tests.
Treatment of glaucoma usually involves lowering of the eye pressure to a more normal level by use of medication eyedrops, laser surgery or incisional surgery. The most common two methods to treat glaucoma in the early stages are use of eyedrops daily or use of various laser procedures.
Medication eyedrops and laser surgery are both highly effective in reducing or controlling the intraocular pressure. Successful pressure reduction protects your eye against progressive damage to your optic nerve.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a very safe and effective method to control the eye pressure of Austin glaucoma patients. Austin Eye features experienced Austin LASIK doctors and eye providers who are adept at treating glaucoma patients.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How successful is the SLT laser treatment at reducing eye pressure for individuals suspected of having glaucoma?
Approximately 96% of patients treated experience a 31% reduction in eye pressure after SLT in the treated eye.
Why should I have SLT laser treatment rather than use eyedrop medications to control my eye pressure in glaucoma?
- Convenience: you can purchase and use eyedrops all your life OR have a 2 minute procedure that reduces or eliminates your reliance on using medications.
- Compliance: many individuals forget to take their eyedrops and therefore do not control their glaucoma effectively. The SLT treatment works 24/7 without eyedrops.
- Effectiveness: (see above on the success rate)
- Safety: There are few if any long-term risks associated with the SLT laser treatment.
- Repeatability: The SLT treatment can be repeated to augment the initial effect if necessary.
- Cost: Medicines are expensive over the long-term. SLT surgery is covered by your medical insurance an provides long-term eye pressure control reducing or eliminating dependence on medicines to control glaucoma.
If I am already on glaucoma medicines, why should I consider using SLT to treat my glaucoma?
In a recent study, it was determined that after SLT laser surgery, 86% of individuals on one glaucoma medicine, 62% of individuals on 2 glaucoma medicines, 42% of individuals on 3 glaucoma medicines, and 32% of individuals on 4 glaucoma medicines were able to stop all medicines due to adequate eye pressure control after SLT laser surgery.
What should I expect during the first day after undergoing SLT?
Your vision will initially be slightly blurred and your eye may have a slight ache or soreness and redness that resolves within 1-2 days. You may take Ibuprofen or Tylenol to alleviate any ache or soreness.
Are there limitations or restrictions that I should be aware of after SLT?
No. You may resume normal activities without restrictions immediately after surgery.
How soon after surgery should I return for a follow-up evaluation?
We will ask you to be seen between 11–14 days after SLT surgery to evaluate the initial response to treatment and to have SLT treatment to your second eye if necessary.
How soon will I know if the SLT laser treatment has helped reduce or control my eye pressure?
We will know within 2–6 weeks if the SLT treatment has helped control your eye pressure.