Glaucoma Laser Procedures
Dr. Bursztyn offers 2 types of glaucoma lasers, that are done for 2 different reasons.
Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)
Mild or moderate glaucoma can be treated with drops or laser. The goal of both treatments is to lower the pressure inside the eye, which can lower the risk of glaucoma progressing. Both work well in most people to lower pressure. This type of laser is called “selective laser trabeculoplasty” or SLT. The advantage of SLT is that if it works for you, then you may not need to use any drops for several years.
SLT takes only a few minutes to do, and most patients have little or no discomfort during the procedure. Some people notice an ache inside the eye. The biggest risks of SLT are
- It may not work for you
- You could have a spike in pressure immediately after
For these reasons, you need to stay for an hour after the laser so Dr. Bursztyn can recheck your pressure. You will also need to return in about 6 weeks to check that it worked.
This type of laser is used when someone what is called “narrow angles”. The eye is a ball filled with fluid, which is constantly being produced and constantly being drained away. The fluid is drained through a part of the eye called the angle. Some people are born with small or narrow angles. These people are at risk for having the angle close completely. If that happens, the eye would continue to produce fluid, but it would have nowhere to drain out. This causes the pressure inside the eye to go up. High pressure inside the eye can be painful and may lead to permanent vision loss. A laser peripheral iridotomy creates a small hole in the iris where the fluid can drain out if this happens.
Laser iridotomy takes only a few minutes to do, and most patients have very little discomfort during the procedure. Some people notice a popping sensation inside the eye. The biggest risks of laser iridotomy are
- Some people notice a white line in their vision afterwards. Most of the time this goes away without treatment
- The hole is not a 100% guarantee that the pressure will not build up in the eye
You may have some inflammation in the eye afterwards, so Dr. Bursztyn will prescribe eye drops to be used for 5 days afterwards.
Cataract Laser Procedures
Most modern cataract surgery is done using an ultrasound to remove the cataract. Laser assisted cataract surgery is not available at the Ivey Eye Institute and is not offered by Dr. Bursztyn at this time. If you wish to have laser assisted cataract surgery, you will have to pay for it at a private centre.
After you have cataract surgery, the cataract will never grow back. However, it is possible for a film to grow on the back of the lens implant, which can make your vision blurry again. If this happens, a laser can be used to clear away the film. This is called a laser capsulotomy.
Capsulotomy takes only a few minutes to do, and most patients have no discomfort during the procedure. The biggest risk of laser capsulotomy is that the lens implant could fall out of place if the procedure is done too soon after cataract surgery. Dr. Bursztyn prefers to wait at least 3 months after cataract surgery to make sure it is safe.