Titanium + Sapphire: Great for Jewelry & Glaucoma

Sep 7, 2015

Walk into most any jewelry store and chances are good you’ll see bands made out of titanium. Some of these rings are likely to be set with Sapphire stones. As pleasant as these are to the eye, they won’t help you see…or will they?

A recently published study suggests that the Titanium-Sapphire combination may have real, not just perceived, value – at least in the treatment of glaucoma. This metal plus precious stone combination can be used to create a laser. Lasers, as we know, can be very useful in the treatment of glaucoma.

Laser Trabeculoplasty has been used for years to treat glaucoma. Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) is one of, if not the most, common form of Laser Trabeculoplasty performed today. It is both safe and effective for most patients with ocular hypertension or glaucoma. Additionally, with multiple manufacturers now offering this technology, the cost of the laser has been driven down such that many eye surgeons can now afford to have one available in their offices.

So, do we really need another form of laser trabeculoplasty? If it’s a more effective and safer glaucoma treatment, then “yes”.

Titanium-Sapphire Laser Trabeculoplasty (TSLT) was recently compared to SLT in a small (unmasked, but randomized) trial of 37 patients with glaucoma. These glaucoma patients were followed for two years after the laser treatment. “Success” was defined as an intraocular pressure (IOP) less than 21mmHg with greater than 20% reduction in IOP and no need for additional surgery.

At the one year mark 61% of glaucoma patients who had undergone SLT achieved “success” compared to 44% of those who had undergone TSLT. By two years out 46% of those who had undergone SLT still met the criteria of success compared to 22% of those who had undergone TSLT. The average reduction in IOP after two years was 25% after SLT and 35% after TSLT. Due to the small size of the study group these differences were not statistically significant.

Of note is that no significant complications were noted in either glaucoma treatment group.

So is the Titanium-Sapphire laser of real value in the treatment of glaucoma or is it just another bright, shiny, and expensive technology with no real advantage over established and proven technologies such as SLT? Only time and additional studies will tell.

For more about Laser Trabeculoplasty, click this link.

References
  1. Kaplowitz K, Wang S, Bilonick R, et. al. Randomized Controlled Comparison of Titanium-Sapphire Versus Standard Q-Switched Nd:YAG Laser Trabeculoplasty. J Glaucoma. 2015; PDF Only.

Don’t delay getting checked for glaucoma.  Make an appointment with an eye doctor in your area now.  If you live in the greater Los Angeles area and would like Dr. David Richardson to evaluate your eyes for glaucoma call 626-289-7856 now.  Same day or next day appointments are available Tuesday through Saturday.

David Richardson, MD

Medical Director, San Marino Eye

David Richardson, MD is widely recognized as one of the top cataract and glaucoma surgeons in the US and is among an elite group of glaucoma surgeons in the country performing the highly specialized canaloplasty procedure. Morever, Dr. Richardson is one of only a few surgeons in the greater Los Angeles area that performs Micropulse® "Cyclophotocoagulation" (MP3) glaucoma laser surgery. Dr. Richardson graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of Southern California and earned his Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the LAC+USC Medical Center/ Doheny Institute. Dr. David Richardson is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at Keck School of Medicine of USC. Twice weekly, he treats veterans at the VA Greater Los Angeles Veterans Healthcare System. → Learn more about Dr. David Richardson

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