Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty
Eye drops have traditionally been the first-line treatment for lowering eye pressure in glaucoma and ocular hypertension. Over the past two decades, there have been significant improvements and more types of eye pressure-lowering drops are available than ever before. In more recent times the use of preservative-free eye drops has meant that eye drops are causing less unwanted side effects such as redness, soreness and grittiness. Despite this improvement in eye drops many patients are still intolerant to these or are physically unable to put the drops in, or simply forget to put the eye drops in on occasions.
Selective laser trabeculoplasty is a safe, non-invasive, and painless treatment that improves fluid drainage from the eye and therefore helps reduce eye pressure. I have been using selective laser trabeculoplasty more and more commonly in my clinical practice over the past 7 years and have been very encouraged by my results.
In 2019 a large study called the LiGHT study showed that selective laser trabeculoplasty was as effective as eye drops as a primary treatment for newly diagnosed glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Visual acuity, visual fields as well as the quality of life was also similar to when taking eye drops. As a result of this study more and more eye departments in the country, who have access to selective laser trabeculoplasty are offering this to appropriate patients as a first-line treatment. Selective laser trabeculoplasty is not suitable for all patients and you should discuss with your ophthalmologist whether this would be an appropriate treatment for yourself.
Nobody likes the idea of long-term use of eye drops and selective laser trabeculoplasty, in my practice, is definitely one of the treatment options I regularly use to treat glaucoma and try and minimise the use of eye drops.