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San Diego Physician is First to Use Special Laser Procedure For Open-Angle Glaucoma Patients; Tory Prestera, North County Ophthalmologist Producing Dramatic Results for Patients.

Business Editors & Health/Medical Writers

SAN DIEGO--(BW HealthWire)--April 16, 2002

Tory Prestera, M.D., Ph.D., announced today that he is the first San Diego physician to perform Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), a procedure that incorporates a patented technique for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma, a leading cause of preventable blindness in Americans over 40 years of age.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the Selecta(R) 7000 Glaucoma Laser System in March 2001 as the only machine that can be used to perform the treatment. Produced by Lumenis Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., the machine lowers intraocular pressure by using short pulses of low energy laser light to selectively target pigmented cells in the trabecular meshwork (or eye tissue), while preserving surrounding tissue. The procedure stimulates an increase in the drainage of fluid from the eye, thus lowering intraocular pressure (IOP).

Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma and often occurs when there is an increase in fluid production or decrease in fluid drainage. This imbalance in fluid flow causes an increase in intraocular pressure, which can, in turn, cause damage to the optic nerve resulting in vision loss and even blindness. Laser treatments are aimed at lowering the eye pressure to prevent such damage to the optic nerve.

Traditional treatment methods for open angle glaucoma include eye drops, oral medication, Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT), and surgery. In contrast to the "selective" quality of the Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) procedure, where specific cells can be targeted, the burn caused by the ALT method destroys some of the normal eye tissue (trabecular meshwork).

An older method, ALT also can produce scarring of the tissue, leading to decreased eye drainage and possible serious complications.

"My patients have successful and dramatic results following the SLT treatment in my office," said Prestera. "For many patients with open angle glaucoma, intraocular pressure was lowered by more than 30 percent. Several of my patients no longer require eye drops. The treatment is quick, usually takes less than 5 minutes and is relatively painless."

Dr. Prestera purchased the SLT instrument in November and has performed more than 50 procedures in his office, to date.

More than five years of clinical trials led up to the FDA approval of the procedure last year and thousands of patients have been treated at both international sites and in more than 150 U.S. cities since April 2001. Clinical work has been ongoing in the U.S. for the past five years. SLT was devised by Mark Latina, M.D., at the Wellman Laboratories located in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Lumenis Inc. received an exclusive license from the hospital to commercialize SLT and market the laser technology. To date, more than 200 physicians in the U.S. and more than 15 in California perform SLT.

Dr. Tory Prestera, a board-certified ophthalmologist, received his M.D., and Ph.D. in biochemistry and pharmacology from the Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore. He completed residency at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Dr. Prestera performs LASIK, glaucoma and cataract surgery and treats a variety of medical eye disorders. His office is located at 700 West El Norte Parkway in Escondido, Calif. Additional clinical information on the SLT procedure, including patient testimonials, is available on request.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 16, 2002
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