Mountain View Eye Care now offers laser eye procedures at the clinic, saving patients time and travel in attaining two common treatments.
Two procedures – selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) and YAG capsulotomy – are used to treat glaucoma and to remove tissue that sometimes becomes cloudy following cataract surgery.
A state law recently was enacted to allow optometric physicians such as Dr. Chris Deitrick to perform these types of procedures. He attained certification and began doing laser procedures a few weeks ago.
Prior to the change, Deitrick said he would diagnose a condition, refer a patient for treatment, and then the patient would return to his clinic for follow-up care.
About half of those who have cataract surgery eventually develop scar tissue and Deitrick would refer 80-100 procedures per year to specialists.
“I was doing everything except the procedure itself, and my patients were having to find someone to drive them and travel out of town,” Deitrick said. "Now, we can do everything here.”
For the post-cataract surgery treatment, Deitrick dilates and numbs the eye, then uses a microscope with internal lasers to target tissue and dissolve it.
He may apply a lens over the eye during the procedure to help see the target area.
During cataract surgery, a plastic lens is placed inside the membrane – or capsule – from which the eye’s natural lens was removed. The capsule can become cloudy, interfering with light reaching the back of the eye. The laser treatment creates a small hole in the center of the capsule to allow light through and improve vision.
Glaucoma occurs when fluid in the eye is prevented from draining properly, causing the eye pressure to increase, which can damage vision. The laser treatment for glaucoma involves using short pulses of low-energy light to target cells in the natural drainage channels of the eye to increase flow of natural fluids and reduce pressure in the eye.
Deitrick said adding the SLT procedure offers another option to treat glaucoma which could limit or eliminate the need for a patient to use eye drops for the condition.
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