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            The Aga Khan University Hospital Pakistan

Advancing Glaucoma Care: The Promise of Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

<p>Glaucoma is an eye condition characterised by gradual damage to the optic nerve usually caused by fluid buildup in the front part of your eye. Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss or blindness. 
</p><p>If diagnosed in time, glaucoma can be often be managed successfully with medications, laser therapy, or surgery to lower eye pressure. Although lost vision cannot be restored, the right treatments can help slow down additional vision loss.</p><p>In a groundbreaking move towards enhancing eye care, the Aga Khan University Hospital, Pakistan has introduced a state-of-the-art treatment for glaucoma – the Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) service. This innovative laser therapy, led by a team of highly skilled glaucoma experts, represents a significant leap forward in managing glaucoma. </p><p><strong>Understanding SLT</strong></p><p>Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is a safe and highly effective laser procedure designed to reduce the fluid pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP) for patients with or at high risk of developing open-angle glaucoma. This revolutionary technique utilises a specialised laser to target specific cells in the eye&#39;s drainage system, increasing the outflow of fluid and subsequently lowering IOP. This lowered pressure is crucial in slowing down or preventing further damage to the optic nerve, thereby preserving vision.    </p><p><strong>The SLT Procedure </strong></p><p>SLT is a pain-free, non-invasive procedure that takes only a few minutes to perform. Before the procedure, you will be given an eye exam, after which the doctor will numb your eye using eye drops. Once you are sitting at the laser machine, a special lens is inserted to keep your eye from blinking. Finally, the doctor will use a low-energy laser that targets the natural drainage tissues of the eye.
</p><p>After the procedure, you may experience mild discomfort or irritation. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops to provide relief and prevent inflammation. It usually takes a few weeks or sometimes a few months to see the full effect of the SLT procedure; it is important to attend the follow-up appointments so your doctor can monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.
</p><p><strong>Benefits and Side Effects </strong></p><ol><li><strong>Non-invasive:</strong> SLT stands out as a non-invasive procedure, eliminating the need for cutting or incisions. This makes it a safer alternative compared to more invasive surgical interventions.</li><li><strong>Repeatable: </strong>Unlike some other glaucoma treatments, SLT can be repeated multiple times, if necessary. </li><li><strong>Evidence-based: </strong>There are many studies worldwide supporting the use of SLT as a first-line or adjunctive therapy.
</li><li><strong>Reduces medication use: </strong>For patients already taking eye drop medications, SLT can be used as a substitute for one or more of them. This can improve quality of life and reduce medication side effects.
</li><li><strong>Safer than traditional laser procedures: </strong>SLT uses low-energy laser pulses that precisely target cells in the drainage area without damaging the surrounding eye structures. This means it is a safer option than older laser treatments for glaucoma.</li><li><strong>Minimal side effects: </strong>Side effects and risks are minimal for SLT when compared to traditional glaucoma treatments such as medications or surgery. This makes it a highly effective and low-risk option.</li></ol><p>As with any medical treatment, the benefits and risks should be discussed thoroughly with your doctor to see if the procedure is right for you.</p><p>The introduction of SLT at AKUH marks a significant milestone in the field of glaucoma management. As the hospital pioneers this advanced treatment, patients can now look forward to a safer and more effective approach to managing this vision-threatening condition.​
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