Laser Treatments for Glaucoma

Have you been diagnosed with glaucoma? If so, you probably know that the disease cannot be cured entirely, but it can be managed effectively as long as the condition is diagnosed early on.

Glaucoma occurs when the fluid that circulates through the eye cannot properly drain out of the eye, resulting in increased intraocular pressure intraocular pressure (internal eye pressure). Depending on if you have open-angle glaucoma or narrow-angle glaucoma, and how far the disease has progressed, Manhattan laser eye surgeon Sandra Belmont, MD, FACS, will suggest a suitable treatment option to help you manage your condition, which may involve medication and / or laser eye surgery.

The following are the most common types of laser eye surgery performed to help treat glaucoma.

Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT)

With argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT), Dr. Belmont directs a laser beam toward the trabecular meshwork, or the drainage channel, to open the drainage canal. This allows the fluid to flow more easily out through the channel. Typically, patients still need to use medication after surgery. However, ALT successfully lowers intraocular pressure in about 75 percent of the individuals treated.

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) is similar to ALT in that Dr. Belmont uses a laser to open the trabecular meshwork to improve the flow of fluid. The difference is that, with SLT, Dr. Belmont uses a low-power laser and selectively treats certain cells in the trabecular meshwork, or drainage angle, while leaving others intact.

SLT may be an appropriate alternative for patients who have been unsuccessfully treated with ALT or certain medications. Because some cells are left intact with this procedure, SLT may be repeated safely, if needed.

Micropulse Laser Trabeculoplasty (MLT)

This relatively new procedure works the same way as ALT and SLT to lower intraocular pressure. The difference with MLT is that it involves the use of a diode laser that delivers the laser energy in short pulses, or microbursts.

Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI)

Dr. Belmont performs laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI) to treat narrow-angle glaucoma. If you recall, narrow angle glaucoma occurs as a result of the iris pressing against the lens, which creates a narrow or obstructed drainage angle. The fluid cannot drain through a narrow angle, causing a buildup of intraocular pressure. With LPI, the Manhattan laser eye surgeon makes a miniscule hole in the iris, helping the fluid drain easier.

Laser Cyclophotocoagulation

Dr. Belmont may recommend laser cyclophotocoagulation to treat advanced open-angle glaucoma, especially if other treatment options have failed to alleviate the extra pressure in the eye.

Instead of treating the drainage channel like Dr. Belmont does with trabeculoplasty procedures, laser cyclophotocoagulation is designed to damage the ciliary body (the part of the eye that produces fluid), so it cannot produce fluid. Dr. Belmont may have to repeat the procedure to provide lasting results.

Is Laser Eye Surgery Right for You?

The only way to determine if one of these types of laser eye surgery is an appropriate option for treating your glaucoma is to schedule a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Belmont. During your consultation, the NYC laser eye surgeon evaluates the health of your eyes and establishes how advanced your glaucoma is. Based on this information, she recommends an appropriate treatment option, which may include laser eye surgery.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Belmont or to learn more about your glaucoma treatment options, including laser eye surgery, please contact Belmont Eye Center by calling (212) 486-2020.