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Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT)

Laser trabeculoplasty is an outpatient procedure generally recommended for patients with open angle glaucoma that continues to progress despite use of medications. Although less common, laser trabeculoplasty may also be recommended prior to trying medical treatment. These decisions vary depending on the type of glaucoma, the stage of glaucoma, as well as other factors

ALT attempts to facilitate drainage of fluid FROM the eye and thereby lower intraocular pressure. In open angle glaucoma, the normal drainage site of the eye (the trabecular meshwork) does not function normally. The trabecular meshwork encircles the iris (the colored part of the eye). When fluid has a difficult time leaving the eye, the pressure increases and can cause loss of vision. During ALT (Argon laser trabeculoplasty), an Argon laser beam is directed at the trabecular meshwork. If the laser is successful, changes occur in the trabecular meshwork that enable it to drain fluid more effectively.

This procedure does not reverse the damage already done by glaucoma, but it can control pressure in the eye and minimize future damage and vision loss. If you are already treating your glaucoma with eyedrops, you will likely continue this treatment, though some changes may be possible.