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Argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT) and selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) treat open-angle glaucoma by stimulating the eye’s drainage system to function more efficiently, resulting in lower intraocular pressure (IOP).
In open-angle glaucoma, the vitreous gel that fills the eye does not flow efficiently through the eye's sponge-like drainage system (known as the trabecular meshwork), which is located where the iris meets the eye’s white covering (the sclera). When this liquid fails to drain properly, pressure builds within the eye.
In ALT, a laser makes tiny, evenly spaced burns in the trabecular meshwork. The laser causes chemical and biological changes in the trabecular meshwork that make it work more efficiently, resulting in a lowering of IOP in one to three months.
SLT works in much the same way at ALT, but uses a lower power laser that is absorbed by selected pigmented tissue in the eye. SLT causes less scarring and discomfort than ALT, which allows for repeated treatments, should they be necessary.
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