Very few technologies have as dramatic a clinical and financial impact on your patients, and your practice, as the SLT laser. This extraordinary technology is safe, cost effective, can reduce your patient’s need for topical glaucoma medications, minimize or eliminate compliance issues, save your patients money & aggravation, and generate tens of thousand of dollars in incremental revenue.
Following is a comprehensive list of the clinical, quality of life, and financial benefits that your patients and your practice can expect from SLT laser therapy.
SLT Clinical Advantages:
The asymptomatic nature of glaucoma makes it particularly difficult to impress upon patients their need for treatment. Numerous studies show lack of overall compliance to be a HUGE problem, whether looking at persistence (the duration of continuous treatment with the initially prescribed glaucoma medication) or adherence (the prevalence of use of the initial medication at various time points). Studies show that approximately one third of initial glaucoma prescriptions are refilled at one and three years, and approximately 50% of patients who had filled a glaucoma prescription discontinued therapy within 6 months. The importance of daily and long-term compliance with glaucoma treatment cannot be underestimated. Studies show that missing a single dose can cause a 4.6 mm Hg IOP fluctuation. SLT is a means of guaranteeing patients’ compliance with therapy, as there are no non-compliant SLT patients!
Equally or more effective than ALT with less risk, fewer side effects, better repeatability and fewer inflammatory complications.
Recent research has shown SLT treatment to decrease IOP fluctuations, thus lowering the risk of disease progression in patients with normal tension glaucoma. Untreated NTG patients visit-to-visit IOP fluctuated in the 5 mm Hg to 10 mm Hg range. Following SLT treatment, the IOP range of fluctuation decreased to approximately 3 mm Hg to 4 mm Hg.
SLT treatment “works around the clock,” unlike most glaucoma medications that have peak and trough periods throughout the day.
Preserves TM architecture, offering the proven advantages of ALT w/out causing irreversible coagulative damage, scarring or elevated IOP.
Numerous clinical trials of SLT as primary treatment or secondary therapy show IOP reductions of approximately 30% - 35% from baseline levels.
Can be repeated on patients who have had prior SLT, ALT, or DLT (diode laser trabeculoplasty), without decreasing the effectiveness of the procedure.
Effective in reducing the number of glaucoma medications taken by patients
SLT has been shown to be more efficacious than ALT in patients with little or no pigmentation.
Unlike ALT, an immediate pressure reduction is usually seen.
Effective for patients who have had prior ALT with identical results.
More comfortable and tolerated than ALT no “pin-prick” sensation.
Unlike ALT, which uses a continuous wave laser, the SLT laser utilizes a 3 nanosecond pulse combined with a 400 micron spot size, causing minimal fluence to targeted tissues.
No post-op steroids, often used after ALT.
Financial - Practice
As a general rule of thumb, every 10 viable SLT candidates represents approximately $1,800 in incremental revenue to your practice, after expenses.
SLT is cost-effective. A 20% SLT co-pay is roughly equal in cost to a single bottle of eye drops! Many patients have difficulty paying for several medications, especially when using other drugs they may consider more critical to their health & well-being. Eliminating two glaucoma meds for patients without Rx drug coverage typically saves over $1,000 per year.
Quality of life
The Glaucoma Research Foundation patient perspectives survey found that quality of life is as important an endpoint in glaucoma treatment as controlling IOP.
Reduce patients overall discomfort with topical medications they’re messy, expensive, they remind the patient every day that they are suffering from a chronic disease, they need to remember to take them, and there may be multiple ocular or systemic side-effects.
SLT therapy, by reduce or eliminating one or more topical glaucoma medications, thereby minimizing ocular and/or systemic side-effects. There are far too many side-effects to mention although they may include itching, redness, burning, muscle and joint pain, dry mouth, allergic reactions, fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, lethargy, low blood pressure, breathing problems in elderly patients, hyperemia, permanent iris color change, conjunctival changes that in turn may limit the success of subsequent filtering surgery, increased growth of brow and eyelid hair, blurred vision, corneal anesthesia, drowsiness, apneic spells, cyanosis, etc., etc., etc.