It is often believed by physicians and patients that laser therapy is a very expensive treatment that the average person simply cannot afford. In reality, however, the cost of laser-based glaucoma treatment is comparable with the cost of a 5-month supply of eye drops.
Given the longer lasting outcomes achieved with SLT and the one-time investment, it is actually more cost effective to have laser therapy than continue on long-term topical therapy. This misconception highlights a need for improved education on this treatment modality among physicians and patients, to ensure that patients who stand to benefit both financially and phsyically from opting for laser therapy over medication are presented with all their options at an early-disease stage, when good outcomes are still achievable.6
Some physicians may also hold the belief that a combined system will be more complicated to use than a conventional YAG laser or traditional ALT. However, this is not the case. With features such as fine-energy setting buttons located next to the joystick included in the device for ease of use, there is no significant learning curve with this device compared with standard YAG lasers.
Physicians used to using ALT in open-angle glaucoma will notice increased treatment precision on making the switch to SLT. This is because the SLT’s 400 µm laser beam diameter covers the full size of the trabeculae, thus eliminating a need for extremely accurate aiming.
In contrast, the laser beam used in ALT has a diameter of 50 µm, which will always require greater aiming precision to deliver the best treatment outcome possible—no matter how skilled the surgeon. Furthermore, when the ALT laser is used, there is a risk of rebound increase in IOP 6 months after treatment that is not seen with SLT.7