Blind World

New treatment available for glaucoma patients.

October 20, 2004.
Newport News Times (Oregon).

Area glaucoma patients may now be able to benefit from a new laser treatment available through Pacific Eye Associates and Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital.

Glaucoma, which is a progressive eye disease, can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated. It is characterized by a buildup of fluid within the eye, causing an increase in eye pressure. The increase in pressure causes the optic nerve to be pinched, resulting in nerve cell death and vision loss.

The Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) debuted in Newport last month, and according to John H. Haines, MD, Pacific Eye Associates, it comes with tremendous benefit to glaucoma patients.

"Most of our glaucoma patients are treated with eye drops to lower the pressure in their eyes. While the drops are effective, there are some disadvantages such as needing to administer drops as many as four times a day, "Haines said. "The SLT laser treatment is promising as it can eliminate or significantly reduce a patient's need for these eye drops as well as help them to avoid surgery."

The SLT uses short pulses of low energy laser light to get melanin-containing cells in a network of tiny channels, called the trabecular meshwork. The objective of the surgery is to help fluids drain out of the eye, reducing intra-ocular pressure that can cause damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision. Unlike older laser trabeculoplasty methods, there is no thermal injury.

The treatment is considered safe, non-scarring and painless and takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes in the short stay unit at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital. There is no recovery time, and patients can drive themselves to and from the appointment and return immediately to normal activity.

The procedure, performed by either Dr. Haines or his Pacific Eye Associates colleague, Dr. Aryah, is also covered by most insurance plans.

Pacific Eye Associates is located at 775 SW 9th St., Suite A in Newport. For more information about the SLT laser treatment call 800-888-2020 or 800-848-4126.

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