What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a progressive disease of the eye that if left untreated, can eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma is commonly associated with increased pressure in the eye due to an imbalance in production and outflow of ocular fluid. In a healthy eye, fluid is produced to help maintain the eye’s shape. Normally, this natural fluid flows out through an area called the trabecular meshwork, and is absorbed into the bloodstream. If the fluid does not drain at the same rate that it is produced, pressure will begin to build in the eye. Over time, this increased pressure can damage the optic nerve and destroy vision.
If your Doctor has recommended that you undergo cataract surgery, it is likely that your vision has been a challenged for some time. As a result of this procedure, your cataract will be removed and replaced by an artificial intraocular lens or IOL.
It is also likely that you and your doctor had discussed that you have mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma. This type of glaucoma is most common and occurs when pressure in the eye builds to abnormal levels. This pressure also referred to as intraocular pressure may rise when the drainage system in the eye is clogged which causes an excess of fluid in the eye.
High intraocular pressure can potentially lead to permanent vision loss. Unlike cataracts, there is no cure for glaucoma. It is a life long disease that must be carefully monitored to limit vision loss, which cannot be regained. Most people take 1, 2, or even 3 glaucoma medications daily to control intraocular pressure.
Today, however, a new technology can change how you manage your glaucoma. The FDA approved iStent implant is the world’s smallest medical device and can be surgically placed into your eye. The iStent device is designed to lower intraocular pressure and some patients may experience a reduction in their glaucoma medications, but this will be at the discretion of the physician managing your glaucoma.
The iStent implant works by improving the eye’s natural ability to direct fluid flow through the trabecular meshwork which is the anatomy through which fluid exits the eye. Most of the fluid in your eye naturally drains through this meshwork and into the bloodstream through a structure called Schlemm’s canal. When this outflow system becomes blocked the pressure in your eye increases. The iStent implant is designed to bypass the blockage within the trabecular meshwork and improve the natural flow of fluid out of the eye.
The iStent procedure is minimally invasive and is performed at the same time as the cataract surgery. After implanting the IOL, your doctor will insert the iStent implant through the same incision that was created for your cataract procedure. No additional anesthesia or surgical materials are required for the procedure.
The iStent implant is inserted through the trabecular meshwork to create a bypass channel that allows fluid to drain into Schlemm’s canal and into the bloodstream. By lowering eye pressure, the iStent implant may reduce your need for glaucoma medications.
Ask your doctor today, about the iStent implant, it may be a solution to manage your glaucoma and to regain the freedom you deserve.
Glaucoma & Eye Pressure
It’s easy to confuse eye pressure and glaucoma but important to understand the difference. Although intraocular pressure (IOP) is often associated with glaucoma, it’s possible to develop the disease without it. Whether you develop glaucoma depends on the level of pressure your optic nerve can tolerate without being damaged. This level varies from person to person, and in some cases, may never develop into glaucoma. That’s why it’s so important to schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. It can help your eye care professional determine what level of eye pressure is appropriate for you.
Types of Glaucoma
There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.
The most common type of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, accounts for approximately 70% to 90% of all cases. The disease is progressive and has no detectable early signs. Elevated IOP is the most significant risk factor for the development and progression of open-angle glaucoma. As eye pressure builds, it gradually can lead to:
• Damage of the optic nerve
• Loss of peripheral vision
• Blindness, if left untreated
The second most common type of glaucoma — angle-closure glaucoma — occurs when the drainage pathways in the eye become blocked by the iris. As a result, fluid cannot circulate through the eye and pressure increases. The condition can occur suddenly (acute angle-closure glaucoma) or gradually (chronic angle-closure glaucoma).
Your eye care professional can perform a simple eye test to determine if the angle in your eye is normal and wide or abnormal and narrow.
Speak with an iStent® Physician Today
Help is right around the corner. Leading eye professionals across the country offer iStent® for the treatment and control of eye pressure associated with mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma, and are available to answer your questions. Find out if you are a candidate for iStent® by talking with an iStent® physician in your area today.Find an iStent® Physician