Ocular hypertension is a condition where the pressure inside the eye is higher than usual, but there is no detectable damage to the optic nerve or loss of vision. It is sometimes considered a precursor to glaucoma because the increased pressure is a significant risk factor for developing the condition. Ocular hypertension can be detected through a routine eye exam and is usually treated with eye drops to lower the pressure and prevent damage to the optic nerve.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. This damage can result in vision loss or blindness. Glaucoma is often caused by increased pressure in the eye, but it can also occur when the optic nerve is damaged for other reasons. It is a progressive disease that usually develops slowly over many years, and if left untreated, it can lead to irreversible vision loss.
Not everyone with ocular hypertension will develop glaucoma. The risk of developing these conditions increases with age. Older age is one of the most significant risk factors for glaucoma. As we age, the drainage channels in the eye may become less effective in removing fluid, leading to a buildup of pressure inside the eye. The optic nerve may also become more susceptible to damage as we age.
Older adults need regular eye exams to check for signs of glaucoma or ocular hypertension, even without symptoms. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can help prevent vision loss and improve the quality of life in older adults. Eye doctors may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as exercise and a healthy diet, to help lower the risk of developing glaucoma and other eye conditions.
The Laser in Glaucoma and Ocular Hypertension (LiGHT) Trial is a study that evaluated the effectiveness and safety of selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) as a primary treatment for open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and ocular hypertension (OHT). SLT is a medical procedure that uses a laser to target specific cells in the eye's drainage system, called the trabecular meshwork, to improve its ability to drain fluid out of the eye, thereby reducing eye pressure. The procedure is called "selective" because it targets only specific cells and does not damage surrounding tissue.
This study followed up with participants for six years after the initial treatment, comparing the health-related quality of life and clinical effectiveness of SLT to eye drops. The study found that SLT was a safe treatment option for OAG and OHT, providing better long-term disease control than eye drops, with a reduced need for glaucoma and cataract surgery over six years. No laser-related severe adverse events occurred during the study.
SLT is a minimally invasive procedure that can be done on an outpatient basis and typically takes 10-15 minutes to perform. The procedure is generally safe and well-tolerated, with few side effects. Thus, the clinical trial concludes SLT is a safe and effective treatment for ocular hypertension and glaucoma.