Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S., refers to a group of eye diseases that can cause damage to the optic nerve. Most types of glaucoma are related to the abnormally high pressure inside the eye resulting from an inability to properly drain fluid.
Treatment for glaucoma is usually performed to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP). The iStent® is an advanced glaucoma treatment solution that creates a permanent opening in the drainage system of the eye, improving the outflow of fluid and helping to maintain the proper level of IOP. It is designed to be placed during cataract surgery. If you suffer from cataracts as well as open-angle glaucoma, you may be a candidate for iStent®.
How Does iStent® Work?
The drainage system of the eye is made of a spongy tissue called trabecular meshwork. In a healthy, functioning eye, fluid flows from the anterior chamber of the eye through the meshwork to a major collector channel. iStent® is designed to bypass the trabecular meshwork and carry fluid directly to the collector channel.
The iStent® is the only FDA-approved device used to treat mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma. It is a tiny L-shaped device made of titanium that is implanted during cataract surgery. After making a tiny incision less than 2 mm long in the cornea, your surgeon will implant the device where it will best improve natural fluid outflow. iStent® is designed to offer permanent relief of increased intraocular pressure.
iStent® is so small you will not be able to see or feel it after it has been implanted by your surgeon. In fact, it is the smallest medical device the FDA has ever approved. The procedure minimizes trauma to surrounding, healthy tissue, reducing the risk of complications and minimizing recovery time. In addition, iStent® does not preclude you from any treatment options that may be recommended to improve or preserve your vision in the future.
iStent® is designed to be placed during cataract surgery, which involves replacing the natural lens of the eye with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL). Treatment with iStent® is usually only recommended if more conservative options have been ineffective. Preliminary treatment often includes medications, including oral medication and eye drops, designed to lower the pressure inside the eye.
iStent® is not appropriate to treat angle-closure glaucoma, which means the area of the eye that normally drains fluid is completely closed off. Patients who suffer from conditions like thyroid eye disease, a tumor behind the eye, or a port-wine stain (a type of birthmark on the upper eyelid) are not good candidates for iStent®.
Protect Your Vision
Although glaucoma cannot be cured and treatment cannot restore any vision loss you have experienced, you can take measures to preserve your eyesight. By relieving pressure placed on the optic nerve, the cause of vision loss in glaucoma sufferers, iStent® can help protect your vision for years to come. Our experienced doctors can help determine if this treatment is right for you during a consultation at our practice.