Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases in which the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly damaged then destroyed. It is a leading cause of blindness and vision impairment affecting approximately 2.5 million Americans.
In most people glaucoma is caused by an increase in pressure inside the eye as a result of blockage of the circulation of aqueous humor (fluid), or its drainage. In some patients damage may also be caused by poor blood supply to the optic nerve fibers, a weakness in the structure of the nerve or a problem in the health of the nerve fibers themselves.
In a normal eye aqueous humor is a clear fluid that fills the anterior (front) and posterior (back) chambers of the eye. Aqueous humor is produced by the ciliary body in the posterior chamber. It passes through the pupil, and drains through the trabecular mesh work in the anterior chamber (Figure 1).
In open-angle glaucoma, impaired outflow resulting from dysfunctioning of the aqueous drainage system (Figure 2) causes elevated intraocular pressure within the eye resulting in the damage of the optic nerve (Figure 3).
iStent – An Exciting Technology for the Treatment of Your Glaucoma
Technology has always played an important role in eye care. Today, almost every aspect of vision is connected to a product or procedure that wasn’t available even 10 short years ago. The cataract surgery you are scheduled for is a good example of how innovations can make a difference. Every aspect of it uses recently developed technology that will help your doctor improve your vision.
Today this includes managing your glaucoma.
Now, your doctor is able to add another step to your cataract surgery that allows your glaucoma to be treated in a completely new way. This is important because once diagnosed with glaucoma, you and most patients like you will spend the rest of your lives taking one, two or even three different medication drops. Unfortunately, you will need to use these drops every day, which will not only be inconvenient, but potentially very expensive. The iSent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent can help with this, and you can have it done at the same time you have cataract surgery. Even so, your eye drop medication use is at the discretion of your prescriber.
The world’s smallest medical implant delivers BIG results.
You have mild-to-moderate glaucoma. At this stage of the disease, your vision may be unaffected. But without proper treatment the pressure in your eye could increase and your optic nerve could be damaged. This pressure is caused by the buildup of fluid within your eye. Too much fluid raises pressure, which can cause gradual loss of vision. And while glaucoma moves slowly, its damage is irreparable. Once you start to lose vision, you can never get it back again.
The world’s tiniest medical device- the iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent– is 20,000 times smaller than the intraocular lens (IOL) your doctor will use to replace your cataracts. But the size of the iStent is only part of its story. By increasing your eye’s ability to drain fluid, this technology is designed to improve the aqueous outflow to safely lower your eye pressure.
Managing your glaucoma at your cataract surgery
iStent work like the stents used to prevent heart attacks and strokes. When blood vessels get clogged, a stent creates access to the vessel flow.
While it’s a highly innovative technology, how iStents works is elegantly simple:
- If you have glaucoma, over time your eye’s natural drainage system becomes clogged
- IStent creates a permanent opening through the blockage to improve the eye’s natural fluid outflow
- By improving the outflow of fluid in your eye, iStent is designed to lower and control the pressure within your eye
If iStent sounds like something you’re interested in, talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to answer other questions you might have.
Read about other eye problems besides Glaucoma
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