In our eyes, we all have aqueous fluid that flows through the eye, nourishing the delicate tissue and maintaining pressure that supports structure of the eye itself. In patients with open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of the disease, the drainage canals that allow eye fluids to flow freely become clogged. Too much fluid accumulates in the eye, increasing intraocular pressure and damaging the optic nerve. As the nerve damage becomes more severe, vision is slowly and irretrievably lost. Glaucoma accounts for 12% of the world’s blindness, affecting 4.5 million people. The early stages of glaucoma have no symptoms, so damage goes undetected until considerable vision loss has occurred. Treatments for glaucoma can be lifelong, and include prescription eye drops that lower eye pressure, laser surgery to create openings in the meshwork that is functioning improperly and filtration surgery to create a permanent canal for drainage.
For open-angle glaucoma patients who also have cataracts, there is an exciting new filtration procedure that allows you to treat two conditions with a single visit.
During cataract surgery, your doctor can implant the new Glaukos iStent to treat your mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma. The iStent is the smallest medical device to receive the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and can neither be seen nor felt following implantation. The iStent is inserted through a 1.5mm incision in the cornea, and works by ensuring a permanent opening that allows for healthy flow of fluid and maintenance of proper intraocular pressure. Unlike other surgical treatments for glaucoma, the Glaukos iStent protects delicate eye tissue, and doesn’t limit future treatments that may be needed to preserve your vision. In traditional glaucoma surgeries, there is a risk of overtreatment, where too much fluid drains from the eye to maintain proper eye pressure and support a healthy eye shape. The minimally-invasive Glaucoma patients who are being treated with eye drops typically use one to three different types of drops daily for the rest of their lives. Individuals who have undergone implantation of the iStent often enjoy a reduction in the number of prescribed drops, and the peace of mind that comes from taking control of their glaucoma.
In Northern Michigan, trust Alpine Eye Care to provide comprehensive expert medical and surgical treatments for your eyes. In our eye care center or your local hospital, the area’s only two board-certified eye surgeons provide treatment of eye disease, cataract surgery, cosmetic procedures and vision correction. Call 1.877.733.2020 or schedule an appointment to learn more about how Alpine Eye Care can use this groundbreaking technology to protect your vision and enhance your life.