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Glaucoma laser (SLT en YAG-iridotomy)

Raised eye pressure may lead to progressive, permanent damage to the optic nerve (glaucoma), reducing the visual field and ultimately resulting in blindness. A eye pressure that is too high can have different causes. With the open-angle glaucoma, the “discharge” of the eye may be improved with the laser (laser trabeculoplasty). In the so-called closed-angle glaucoma, the discharge of the eye is released by making a small hole in the iris (laser iridotomy) with the laser. This can often also be done in the acute stage (acute glaucoma).

Yearly, dozens of people undergo laser treatment for glaucoma at OMC Amstelland. In most cases this is done by SLT laser (selective trabeculoplasty), but laser iridotomy is performed regularly as well.

SLT Laser (selective trabeculoplasty)

This is a safe and painless laser treatment that can lower the eye pressure. After SLT laser treatment, pressure-lowering eye drop are often no longer necessary. Before treatment, the eye is instilled with pupil narrowing drops (pilocarpine) which will take effect after 10-20 minutes and you will be taken to the SLT laser. There you will get an anesthetic eye drop and a contact lens will be placed on the eye. The ophthalmologist can treat the drain of the eye with the laser by putting a tiny mirror to this contact lens.

The treatment will cause your own immune cells to improve the drainage of the eye (like removing hair from the shower drain). The goal is lowering of the eye pressure.

After treatment the use of pressure-reducing drops is often no longer necessary. Usually a prescription is given for eye drops for a few days. The eye pressure is checked after 1.5-2 months.

Possible complications of SLT

  • inflammatory reaction (to inhibit this you will get anti-inflammatory drops after the treatment)
  • raised eye pressure

YAG Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (YAG pi)

For this treatment the preparation is the same as for the SLT laser, except that a YAG laser is used here. This laser makes a tiny internal opening in the iris, so the moisture can flow from behind the iris to its drain. No external opening is made, just a small internal bypass. The opening is made at the top of the iris to prevent “false light”. This is light entering the eye through the hole.

Possible complications of a YAG laser peripheral iridotomy

  • hemorrhaging (seldom)
  • “false light” entering through the opening

Both treatments are outpatient and have a low risk profile. You can find extensive information at

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