What is laser trabeculoplasty?

Trabeculoplasty is performed on people with open-angle glaucoma. During this surgery, a laser is used to open the trabecular meshwork drainage area in the eye, which allows the aqueous humor fluid to move more freely and reduces intraocular pressure. In this procedure, the laser makes tiny burns in the meshwork, which stretches and opens the drainage holes. Intraocular pressure is checked after the procedure, and usually drops are given to be used at home for soreness or swelling inside the eye. In some cases, only half of the meshwork may be treated in one surgery. The remainder is treated in a later laser surgical session. If you have glaucoma in both eyes, only one eye will be treated at a time. The multisession approach allows the physician to decide if additional sessions are needed to reach the target pressure.

Research shows that laser trabeculoplasty is very good at lowering intraocular pressure in some people. However, its effects can wear off over time. Your doctor may suggest further treatment. Another form of trabeculoplasty, called selective laser trabeculoplasty, has been introduced. It treats specific pigmented cells "selectively" and leaves the untreated portions of the trabecular meshwork intact. For this reason, SLT may be repeated several times and may also be an option for people with glaucoma who have not had success with traditional laser surgery or pressure-lowering drops.

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