Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually damage the optic nerve. It affects over three million Americans and is thus the second most common cause of blindness in the US.
A clear fluid called aqueous humor circulates around the front part of the eye. Under normal conditions, equal amounts of aqueous humor flow into and out of the eye. In glaucoma, blockages prevent the aqueous humor from flowing out of the eye, and the accumulated liquid puts pressure on the optic nerve and eventually damages it.
How is glaucoma treated?
There are several different types of glaucoma, so the ophthalmologist will choose a treatment based on the type of glaucoma and its severity. None of the treatments can restore lost vision; they only prevent the glaucoma from getting worse.
The most common type of glaucoma in the US is open-angle glaucoma, an insidious disease with few or no symptoms. The doctor can treat open-angle glaucoma through any of the following methods:
• Eye drops
• Oral medications
• Laser therapy
Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is the surgical procedure used to treat open-angle glaucoma. It unblocks the eye’s drainage angle, which lies between the cornea and the iris, so the aqueous humor can flow out and relieve pressure.
Close-angle glaucoma is an acute form of glaucoma in which the iris partly or completely blocks the drainage angle. The only treatment for this type of glaucoma is the laser peripheral iridotomy that basically involves using a laser to relieve pressure.
Who is a good candidate for SLT?
Patients with primary open-angle glaucoma or pigmentary glaucoma are good candidates for SLT. The word “primary” means the glaucoma has no known cause, while secondary glaucoma has a known cause like injury, cataract or diabetes.
SLT is also recommended for patients who have not benefited from more conservative treatments like laser therapy or eye drops.
Who is a good candidate for a laser peripheral iridotomy?
The best candidate for a laser peripheral iridotomy will be a patient with closed-angle glaucoma that affects at least half the eye. Our ophthalmologist can perform a test called a gonioscopy to assess the pressure of a patient’s eye.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you or someone you know is in the Wichita, KS area and looking for glaucoma treatment, contact Wichita Vision Institute. During your consultation, Dr. Reena Patel will explain more about your options and answer any questions you may have.