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Progress towards understanding the functioning of the trabecular meshwork based on lessons from studies of laser trabeculoplasty
  1. Jorge A Alvarado,
  2. Amde Selassie Shifera
  1. Beckman Vision Center, Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jorge A Alvarado, University of California-San Francisco, Department of Ophthalmology, 10 Koret Way, San Francisco, CA 94143-0730, USA; alvaradoj{at}

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The advent of argon and selective laser trabeculoplasty (ALT/SLT) procedures over the past three decades has stimulated investigation of interactions between the laser light and irradiated trabecular meshwork (TM) cells and tissues. These studies have revealed fundamental aspects of the mechanisms involved in the regulation of aqueous outflow that includes an elaborate molecular signalling system that coordinates the activities of two endothelial cell types that function to maintain aqueous outflow homeostasis.1–5 Importantly, this new information has already helped in developing new trabeculoplasty protocols that are associated with highly predictable and effective outcomes.1 4 This is a promising development likely to promote the earlier and more frequent application of laser trabeculoplasty procedures by clinicians, including perhaps using laser procedures as an initial glaucoma therapy.

Notable shortcoming

SLT has been in use clinically to reduce the intraocular pressure (IOP) since the turn of the 21st century.6–8 However, there has been a lack of evidence showing that SLT in fact works by facilitating the egress of aqueous across the trabecular outflow pathway. Now, Goyal et al have corrected this deficiency with the publication in this issue of a landmark article showing that SLT indeed lowers the IOP by increasing aqueous outflow (see page 1443).9 Theirs is a prospective, single-masked, randomised clinical trial assessing the effects of SLT both on tonographic outflow facility and on IOP reduction. Newly diagnosed primary open-angle glaucoma or high-risk ocular hypertension patients with IOP >21 mm Hg were randomly assigned to either 180° or 360° …

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  • Funding Research in the laboratory of JAA is supported by many generous patients of his, and by a major grant from the Thomas J Long Foundation, and others from the Joan Leidy Foundation, the Peninsula Community Foundation and That Man May See, Inc. The Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco, also supported this research by means of a Research to Prevent Blindness grant supporting research in the department.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Institutional Review Board of Wills Eye Institute, IRB#361.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

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