Laser surgeries have become important in the treatment of different eye problems and diseases. Laser treatments for glaucoma increase the outflow of fluid from the eye in open-angle glaucoma or eliminate fluid blockage in closed-angle glaucoma. There are several types of laser surgery that can be used.
Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT)
Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT) is used to treat open-angle glaucoma. The laser beam opens the fluid channels of the eye, helping the drainage system work better. Usually, half the fluid channels are treated first. If necessary, the other fluid channels can be treated in a separate session another time. This method prevents over-correction and lowers the risk of increased pressure following surgery. ALT has successfully lowered eye pressure in up to 75% of patients treated.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is used to treat open-angle glaucoma. SLT uses a laser that works at very low levels. It treats specific cells “selectively,” leaving untreated portions of the trabecular meshwork intact. SLT can be repeated if needed.
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)
Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) is used to treat closed-angle glaucoma. Closed-angle or narrow-angle glaucoma occurs when the angle between the iris and the cornea is too small. This causes the iris to block fluid drainage, increasing inner eye pressure. LPI makes a small hole in the iris, allowing it to fall back from the fluid channel and helping the fluid drain.
Microsurgery for Glaucoma
When medicines and laser surgeries do not lower eye pressure adequately, your doctor may recommend microsurgery. In microsurgery, a tiny drainage hole is made in the sclera, the white part of the eye. The new drainage hole allows fluid to flow out of the eye and helps lower eye pressure. Sometimes a small tube is used to help keep the hole open. This prevents or reduces damage to the optic nerve. The surgery is usually done with a local anesthetic, relaxing medications and a limited type of anesthesia called intravenous sedation. Usually microsurgery is an outpatient procedure, requiring no overnight hospital stay.
In an effort to reduce complications associated with conventional glaucoma surgery, new surgical options are being developed by medical companies. These new techniques offer the promise of less risky treatment, but their problems and long-term effectiveness is less well understood. You and your doctor will work together to decide what approach is best for you.
Wolfe Eye Clinic offers complete glaucoma treatment and glaucoma surgery services throughout Iowa, including Ames, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Ottumwa, Spencer and Waterloo.
Please contact Wolfe Eye Clinic at 1-800-542-7956 to ask any glaucoma-related questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our glaucoma specialists: Dr. John Trible, Dr. Benjamin Mason or Dr. Ryan Vincent.