How SLT is a Patients “Insurance Policy” and how COVID-19 Proved it

Quarantine and glaucoma do not go together well. To track glaucoma, we have to see patients every few months and measure their IOP. Visits are usually scheduled two or three times a year, but we might see someone with unstable glaucoma as frequently as every 2 weeks. However, when the coronavirus hit New York City, MD, Nathan M. Radcliffe immediately shut down his clinic and saw no patients for a full month, after someone in the office tested positive.

Dr. Radcliffe reveals, “I haven’t been able to see patients as I normally would, but I’m proud to say that by taking a proactive approach to treatment, I’ve given them an added level of safety during this time. By managing glaucoma with SLT (Smart Selecta Duet), their IOP is controlled without visits and, in many cases, without medication.”

Dr. Radcliffe certainly did not anticipate that a global pandemic would keep his glaucoma patients away, but on a large scale, it’s entirely predictable that unexpected events like illness, family emergencies or job loss will impair or stop a patient’s compliance with glaucoma management.

Rather than putting patients on medication (and risk complications from events out of his control) and waiting for glaucoma to get worse, Dr. Radcliffe prefers to step up treatment, with a proactive and assertive approach from the start. To get pressure as low as possible, Dr. Radcliffe’s first-line treatment is SLT (Lumenis Selecta Duet), plus medication if needed, telling patients, “SLT is their “insurance policy” – if they forget to use their medication (and they will), SLT can prevent them from losing their vision.”

Dr. Radcliffe claims he sees the benefits of this approach every day in his patients’ IOP control and quality of life, but when coronavirus sent us all into quarantine and glaucoma visits stopped, he was also assured this approach was also helping preserve vision for his patients isolating at home. “We’d chosen to get ahead of the problem, so they could afford to sit it out for a while. Doctors who decided to sit out the first round of glaucoma treatment, opting for medication and a wait-and-see approach, were headed for difficulty as COVID-19 forced them to sit out the second round. Patients without laser may be at much higher risk during quarantine, just as they would be during any other life event that disrupts medication use and office visits.”

As more patients return to the practice, Dr. Radcliffe looks to renew his focus on treating patients in a way that minimised visits. Laser is a critical element of that plan. It’s a particularly ideal modality for this situation because appropriate candidates decide in the office, have in-office treatment, and don’t need to return until their regular glaucoma check-up months later.

Smart Selecta Duet represents Lumenis’ most advanced anterior segment laser platform, combining the advantages of YAG photo disruption capabilities along with the innovative Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) technology, offering advanced glaucoma therapies. Find out more about the unique capabilities of Smart Selecta Duo on our website.

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