David R. Benson, M.D., O.D.

David R. Benson, M.D., O.D., Eye Physicians of Lakewood

Caring for you, not just your eyes

Telephone: 253-584-1777

Eye Services

Dr. Benson's practice emphasis is on treatment of glaucoma, diabetic eye dises, macular degeneration, dry eye, and other eye problems in addition to providing quality eye care to all ages.

Eye Care Services at Eye Physicians of Lakewood

Meet Dr. Benson

Dr. Benson is both types of eye doctors: Optometrist AND Ophthalmologist. Practicing with the motto, "Caring for you, not just your eyes," he has been attending to his patients for more than 25 years.

Meet Dr. Benson at Eye Physicians of Lakewood

Frequently Asked

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FAQs about Eye Care at Eye Physicians of Lakewood

Laser: Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

Since Dr. Benson started out in the eye field 25 years ago, there have been remarkable advances in the treatment of glaucoma. We have improved eye drops and developed better surgeries, but no advance was more of a breakthrough than the advent of Selective Trabeculoplasty.

Until the 1970s, the mainstay of treatment was represented by the meiotic drop, pilocarpine. This drop had to be instilled four times a day and ruined the night vision. It also made it well nigh impossible to view the back of the eye during the examination and increased the risk of retinal detachment. Those earlier drops have been supplanted with improved versions, but all medications have potential complications. They adversely affect the healthy tissues of the eye, can be allergenic, can still have potentially severe side effects, and are always expensive.

A landmark study published in 1990 showed that the argon laser could be as effective as medications in treating glaucoma. Despite this compelling evidence, most of us still held this conventional laser treatment (ALT) in reserve because it worked by causing a small amount of damage to the drainage network and was not repeatable.

Here is an electron photomicrograph showing a small crater appearing on an area of damage to the meshwork: 

selective laser trabeculoplasty slt

Electron microscopy of TM after ALT

The actual size is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

The Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) works differently. It delivers a very brief, 3 nanosecond (3/1,000,000,000th of a second), pulse of energy to the pigment debris that have built up in the meshwork over time. This induces the body to clean up these celss and allow the aqueous fluid to flow out more freely, thereby lowering the eye pressure. It cause NO discernable damage to the meshwork, even on electron microscopy, and studies have shown that it can be repeated as necessary.

This photomicropgraph shows a post-SLT treatment meshwork that is unchanged from normal, pretreated meshwork

Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT)

Electron microscopy of TM after SLT (note benign nature of SLT therapy)

The SLT was FDA approved in March of 2001, but this is an expensive laser to purchase and was available on in Seattle until now. Up until a few years ago, Dr. Benson sent selected patients up to Seattle for this treatment. At first, Dr. Benson utilized SLT only for patients who failed topical medications, yet were not good candidates for convention laser (ALT). While the actual treatment was painless and quick, the Seattle traffic, six hour waits at that Seattle doctor’s office on the day of treatment, and the returns for follow up proved to be ordeals for them.

They did return with impressive results though. The reduced pressure from treatment frequently held off the need for invasive glaucoma surgery. The SLT could be repeated with additive effect. It reduced the number of medications that patients needed from an average of 2.7 to 0.7 medications per day. That represented an average savings of approximately $100 per month or $1200 per year!

For the first time, ophthalmologists had something to offer to their glaucoma patients that would be safer, less expensive, more reliable, and easier on the patient than eye drops! SLT can now be offered as a first line therapy (before drops) for newly diagnosed open angle glaucoma, for patients not sufficiently controlled on their current medications, or to attempt to reduce the number of medications for well controlled patients.

We hope our patients take pride in the fact that their doctor provides them with the very best care. When it was standard of care, we had a fundus camera, Humphrey Visual Field tester and Argon Laser (ALT). When the technology advanced and it became available, we purchased a Heidelberg Retinal Tomographer (HRT) for more sensitive glaucoma testing, and now we purchased a Selective Laser (SLT) for treatment in our office. I know of no clinic of any size or at any place that exceeds commitment to your care.