For the past four decades, laser trabeculoplasty has been a staple in the treatment armamentarium against glaucoma. Although the exact mechanism of laser trabeculoplasty has not been fully elucidated, its clinical utility in lowering intraocular pressure has been well established. Aqueous dynamic studies uniformly reveal an increase in aqueous outflow facility at the trabecular meshwork. Accumulating evidence suggests that the mechanism is the result of complex cellular and biochemical processes. Histopathological studies of the trabecular meshwork tissue after argon laser suggest an additional mechanical role. The traditional treatment algorithm for glaucoma placed laser trabeculoplasty as an intermediary between medical therapy and incisional surgery. However, because of the safety profile of selective laser trabeculoplasty, recent studies have challenged this treatment paradigm. One such study was a multicenter trial headed by our department that compared laser trabeculoplasty and medical therapy as initial treatment for glaucoma. We showed a similar efficacy between the two modalities, reinforcing the possibility of using laser as the initial treatment in the right clinical setting.
Part of the book: Glaucoma