Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) therapy is more effective and safer than the regular eye drops usually given to the glaucoma patients. But the eye hospitals in the State lack the infrastructure required for it.
A recent study published in Lancet compared the efficacy of eye drops and laser therapy, and found that laser is a safe alternative but is rarely used as first-line treatment for primary open angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. The study reveals that laser restores the target intraocular pressure to prevent vision loss, which is lower in eye drop treatment.
Though SLT is an effective mode of treatment, there is a lack of infrastructure in the state to deliver the treatment. “Laser therapies have been found effective and researches substantiate this. However, we do not provide laser treatment for glaucoma treatment currently at the government eye hospital. Even the private sector is not completely equipped with the infrastructure needed for the laser treatment,” says Dr S Namitha, director, Government Eye Hospital.
Dr S Preethi, an ophthalmologist, pointed out that SLT treatment is for a specific type of glaucoma and not for all cases. “The procedure requires separate special laser delivery system, a specific instrument which can deliver the laser. The instrument is currently not available across the country. It might be useful in patients who do not use glaucoma medications properly. But in India we still have not taken it as first line of treatment, as the machine needs to be made available widely,” she added.