Laser Glaucoma Treatment
Medications and eye drops are oftentimes the first line of defense against elevated eye pressures, but undesirable side effects or simply the inability to control glaucoma with medications may lead to laser therapy as a better alternative. We commonly perform SLT and YAG PI procedures at Minnesota Eye Consultants, depending on your needs.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is an advanced type of laser treatment to help you manage your open-angle disease. The SLT selectively stimulates or changes specific pigmented cells to activate increased drainage of the aqueous humor.
This gentle technique produces lower eye pressure without damaging other tissues and doesn’t have any adverse scarring effects. For this reason, the SLT may potentially be repeated if needed.
How is an SLT Performed?
An SLT is usually performed in the office and is very quick. Prior to the procedure, eye drops will be given to prepare your eye for treatment. The laser applications are made through a special microscope, similar to the one used for eye exams. We’ll check your eye pressure prior to leaving, so please plan to be at our office for approximately two hours.
What should be expected after an SLT Treatment?
There are no restrictions on physical activities following the treatment and you will likely continue any medications you were taking before the laser. It often takes 4-6 weeks for your eye pressure to lower, and we’ll plan to see you back at our office for a check-up. Over-the-counter pain medications are fine to use for any discomfort.
Unlike some medications, there are no incidences of allergy or systemic side effects with SLT. Complications are minimal but may include inflammation, a temporary increase in intraocular pressure, conjunctivitis, or eye pain.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (YAG PI)
The treatment for angle-closure, or narrow-angle, is generally initiated with Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (YAG PI) to open the drainage channels of the eye. The narrow-angle is widened as the laser creates a hole towards the outer edge of the iris, allowing more fluid to exit.
How is a YAG PI Performed?
A YAG PI is done within our ambulatory surgery center and the treatment itself takes just a few minutes. Numbing drops are placed in your treatment eye and you’ll be seated at the laser across from the surgeon, just as though you’re having an eye exam. Similar to the SLT procedure, we’ll check your eye pressure prior to leaving, so please plan to be at our office for approximately two hours.
What should be expected after a YAG PI?
Following the procedure, you may notice some light sensitivity for a few days along with slightly blurry vision and eye irritation. You shouldn’t, however, be uncomfortable and are free to return to your normal daily activities without any restrictions. Our coordinators will schedule you for a follow-up visit so we can check your eye pressure following the treatment.