If you've been struggling with treatment for your glaucoma, new technology in treating this eye disease may be what you've been hoping for. A tiny device known as the trabecular micro bypass eye stent may set you free from the use of daily eye drops. If you're scheduled for cataract surgery as well, your ophthalmologist might implant the stent at the same time. This technique has been performed on patients with open-angle glaucoma and cataracts combined, and results have been positive for many.
What is Open-Angle Glaucoma?
This chronic form of glaucoma causes a build up of eye pressure, although many patients will not show symptoms until their vision has been impaired. If you suffer from this disease, your eye drainage tissues may have become clogged and unable to drain properly. When drainage tissues within the eye, known as the trabecular meshwork, cannot function properly due to cell damage or natural aging, you could gradually lose your vision if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Assuming your eye doctor has diagnosed the condition early on, treatment may prevent further damage to your affected eye.
Their are several factors that might put a person at risk for open-angle glaucoma. Perhaps the biggest factor is natural aging. As you age, your drainage tissues may become narrower, causing excess pressure from fluid retention.
Some medical conditions may place you at risk as well. Patients with diabetes, heart disease and low blood pressure may be more prone to developing glaucoma. Persistent migraine headaches may also increase the risk.
Why Choose the Eye Stent Over Traditional Treatment?
Perhaps your eye specialist has begun standard treatment procedures for your glaucoma. His or her major goal is to reduce the intraocular pressure within your affected eye or eyes. One of the most common methods for treating mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma is the use of eye drops. In conjunction with traditional or laser eye surgery, eye drops may help you manage your condition, although taking daily medications can become a struggle for many patients.
Some patients require the use of several eye drop medications and oral medication on a daily basis. Not only is this inconvenient for many, it can become expensive over time. Additionally, oral medications may cause side effects for some individuals, or interact with other medication. The surgical placement of an eye stent, typically performed during cataract surgery, may provide an alternate solution.
About Micro Stents and Implantation Procedures
Some refer to the eye stent as a type of "scaffold". In actuality, the stent is an L-shaped tube-like device that is extremely tiny. It is made of a strong titanium material, measuring a mere one millimeter in size. A gel stent is a softer option recently developed.
Many glaucoma patients also experience cataracts. The mini-stent is typically inserted during cataract surgery and removal. By making a small corneal incision of 1.5 millimeters, the implantation of the stent is intended to relieve much of the eye pressure associated with glaucoma.
Because the device is self-trephining, minimally invasive cutting is performed during implantation. The surgeon will implant the stent using special equipment referred to as an injector. To aid the surgeon with visualization during the procedure, a special microscopic lens will typically be used. In some cases, patients may require a suture to ensure the anterior chamber is stabilized. Minimal scarring may be a side effect of this procedure.
Although many of the micro stent devices have undergone clinical studies, it's a good idea to choose a device that has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Your ophthalmologist may provide more information on your various model options. You can also learn more about eye stents by visiting http://www.checdocs.org.
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