The findings of a trial that compared the use of eye drops with a laser-based treatment for glaucoma were presented at the Moorfields Eye Hospital annual general meeting (10 July, London).
The research, which was published in the Lancet, found that glaucoma and ocular hypertension patients treated with selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) were more often at the target intraocular pressure than those treated with eye drops.
Speaking with OT, Moorfields Eye Hospital glaucoma service director, Professor Gus Gazzard, shared that the procedure is performed with a laser attached to a slit lamp microscope.
“It doesn’t hurt and there are very few side effects,” he shared.
Slightly blurred vision after the procedure and mild irritation may occur, alongside light sensitivity for a couple of days, Professor Gazzard added.
“If I do a laser on the Thursday I tell patients that they will be wearing sunglasses over the weekend. The recovery is very quick,” he said.
The Laser in Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension (LiGHT) trial was designed to mimic what occurs in practice, Professor Gazzard said.
“We aimed to conduct a pragmatic study that very much mirrored what we do in practice to illustrate a comparison between starting off with laser and starting off with eye drops,” he elaborated.
As well as being at the target intraocular pressure more often, those treated with SLT had fewer cataract extractions than those treated with eye drops.
Professor Gazzard highlighted that the procedure offers better disease control than eye drops while avoiding the compliance issues associated with this form of treatment.
So far, three Moorfields Eye Hospital optometrists have been trained to perform the procedure, with the service looking to train more optometrists working in glaucoma care.
Professor Gazzard said that the study was a culmination of many years’ work.
“It has been very rewarding to transform care. The reason I put my energies into this is that I thought it would make a difference to the patient experience,” he shared.
Image credit: Laurence Derbyshire