Laser Treatment Options for Glaucoma

Doctor Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Treatment Senior WomanWhen it comes to glaucoma, there is not a “one size fits all” treatment plan. Your ophthalmologist will customize a treatment plan that is optimal for the stage of your glaucoma and will take into account various factors such as your age, the medications you are currently taking, your other medical conditions, and how fast your glaucoma is progressing.

Your doctor may recommend laser glaucoma surgery. There are many types of laser surgical procedures with the goal of lowering intraocular pressure, but here are some examples:

  • Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT)- This procedure treats primary open-angle glaucoma. Often, glaucoma drops or other medications will still need to be used after the surgery. ALT uses heat to treat the trabecular meshwork of the eye. Usually, only half of the fluid channels are treated first to prevent over-correction. ALT is successful in lowering intraocular pressure in up to 75 percent of patients.
  • Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)- This procedure treats primary open-angle glaucoma. Using a low-level laser beam (often called a “cold laser”), SLT selectively treats pigmented cells and leaves other cells untreated so that a portion of the trabecular meshwork of the eye will be untouched. SLT can be safely repeated, and is a good option for patients who have not had success with ALT or glaucoma drops.
  • Micropulse Laser Trabeculoplasty (MLT)- MLT treats primary open-angle glaucoma and has the same goal as ALT and SLT: lowering intraocular pressure. This newer, unique procedure uses a special diode laser to administer laser energy in short bursts.
  • Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)- This procedure treats narrow angles and narrow-angle glaucoma. When the angle between the iris and cornea is too small, the intraocular fluid can become blocked and eye pressure rises. LPI makes a small incision in the iris which causes it to fall back from the fluid channel and allows the fluid to drain through its normal pathway.
  • Laser Cyclophotocoagulation- This procedure uses laser energy to slow the ciliary body’s ability to make fluid, which lowers eye pressure. This procedure may need to be repeated to keep eye pressure in a safe range.

When eye drops and other medications are no longer effective, you may wish to consider laser treatment options for your glaucoma. Talk to your eye specialist about what treatment option may benefit you most. If you do not have an ophthalmologist in your area, use our physician locator tool to find a qualified specialist today.