Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve, which can result in vision loss or blindness.
Traditionally, glaucoma is treated with medication or surgery. Although surgery can help relieve pressure on the optic nerve, some procedures can cause complications.
More recently, however, newer types of procedures called minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, or MIGS, are being used to treat glaucoma without the potential risk of complications. One such procedure is called the iStent.
The iStent procedure
The iStent is a 1mm titanium tube that is inserted into a patient’s eye using a microscope. It’s approved to treat mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma when placed at the time of cataract surgery.
The procedure uses the same incisions as cataract surgery and only adds a few minutes to the procedure. It can result in improved eye-pressure control and the possibility of fewer or even no eye drops.
How it works
The device works by allowing fluid from the front of the eye to bypass the tissues that provide the greatest resistance to fluid flow.
The stent allows this fluid to pass directly into the eye’s drain. No tissue alterations are made outside of the eye, and the entire process takes place internally.
And, if any further glaucoma surgery is necessary, the iStent makes it far simpler and less likely to fail due to previous scarring.
Who’s a candidate for the iStent?
For patients with glaucoma who do not tolerate eye drops well or who find them too difficult to use, the iStent might be a good option.
However, not all glaucomas are the same. Patients who have a history of angle-closure glaucoma, neovascular glaucoma or a condition causing elevated pressure in the episcleral veins (Sturge-Weber syndrome, thyroid eye disease or retrobulbar tumors) are not good candidates for the iStent.
If you or someone you know suffers from glaucoma and is interested in what options are available beyond eye drops, contact the the glaucoma specialists at the UK Advanced Eye Care Center. We’re accepting new patients and can explain options that may be right for you. Schedule an appointment today by calling 859-257-1000.
- UK Advanced Eye Care provides comprehensive care for patients of all ages with eye and vision conditions.
- Read about a group of UK medical students who opened a new ophthalmology clinic at the Salvation Army in Lexington.