iStent Now Available at The Eye Clinic to Lower Eye Pressure
It’s so tiny you can’t see it or feel it, but if you have glaucoma, this microscopic device has the power to save your vision from the damaging effects of the sight-stealing disease.
Dr. Virgil Murray IV, ophthalmologist with The Eye Clinic, recently performed the first iStent procedure in Southwest Louisiana. The iStent, which is the smallest device ever approved by the FDA, is about 1/3 the size of a grain or rice. It’s the first device that has been approved, in conjunction with cataract surgery, to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in adult patients with mild or moderate open-angle glaucoma and a cataract who are currently on IOP medication.
The second leading cause of blindness in the United States, glaucoma affects over 3 million Americans over the age of 40, half of whom are unaware they have the disease. Dr. Murray explains that glaucoma is characterized by a buildup of fluid within the eye, causing intraocular pressure to increase. “This pressure affects the optic nerve, gradually shrinking the field of vision, but the individual may not notice any symptoms at all in the early stages of the disease. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss.”
The only acceptable treatment for glaucoma is to lower IOP. Most people with glaucoma require topical drops applied several times daily to manage IOP. This was the case for Lake Charles attorney James Watson, who was diagnosed with glaucoma three years ago. “The drops were an inconvenience. I hate having anything put in my eye, and I had to remember to use these several times a day. When we traveled, I had to make sure I had an extra supply. It was a necessary annoyance.”
So when Watson developed cataracts a year ago, and Dr. Murray talked to him about implanting the iStent during his cataract surgery, he was all for it. “It sounded like the ideal solution to both problems to me.”
Dr. Murray says the iStent helps lower eye pressure by improving the natural outflow of the eye. “It creates a tiny opening which allows fluid to drain from the eye the way it is supposed to, regulating IOP.”
The iStent’s small size protects eye tissue that can be damaged by traditional glaucoma surgeries, and the patient does not feel it at all, according to Dr. Murray. “Recovery time is rapid and this device does not limit the patient’s vision treatment options in the future. ”
Dr. Murray says the iStent is proving to be very successful,” says Dr. Murray. “Three out of four patients who have had the iStent are able to get off of their eye drops completely after the surgery.”
James Watson is one of those who was able to “drop the drops.” “I highly recommend this procedure. There was no pain, or really even any discomfort. The cataract surgery restored clear vision and the iStent relieved the pressure in my eyes. I was able to eliminate the medicated drops after my one-week follow-up appointment.”
For more information about the iStent and glaucoma treatment, call The Eye Clinic at (337) 478-3810