iStent Technology To Treat Your Glaucoma
Imagine a world in which you wake up in the morning, open your eyes and see nothing. A world enveloped by darkness. This is the world in which roughly 39 million people worldwide live in, due to blindness. While some are born this way, many develop eye diseases that cause their eventual descent into a life of darkness.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, followed closely by glaucoma. Despite the fact that a comprehensive eye exam can detect glaucoma, there are no symptoms of glaucoma in the beginning so as many as 2 million Americans are estimated to unknowingly have this degenerating retinal disease. Once discovered there are ways of treating glaucoma.
The treatment of glaucoma can include eye drops, pills, laser, and surgery. It may even include a variation of all three combined together to create a treatment plan specifically designed for your personal case. Once diagnosed with glaucoma, your options are to treat your condition or suffer through painless loss of vision and eventually succumb to blindness. Medications can be both inconvenient and expensive, especially if your health insurance does not cover at least part of the cost of your pills or eye drops.
In conjunction with these treatments for glaucoma you can also partake in laser surgery, which works to open the fluid channels of the eye to aid in improved drainage. Between Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT), Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI), and Laser Cyclophotocoagulation the options are plentiful but the results are often the same. They include a reduction in fluid pressure for an undetermined amount of time, continued medication and repeat surgeries.
Thanks to new technology there is another option though, and that option is the iStent.
What is iStent?
iStent is the world’s smallest medical implant at about 20,000 smaller than the intraocular lenses (IOL) used in cataract surgery. It is a stent used within the eye to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) of your eye caused by a buildup of fluid. It works to decrease the amount of pressure felt within the eye by increasing the eye’s ability to drain the fluid that causes the pressure. Much like a stent put into the blood vessels around the heart to keep blood flowing freely, the iStent is used in the blockage of the eye to increase and control the amount of outflow from the eye to help reduce intraocular pressure and minimize the effects of glaucoma.
When it comes to long lasting treatments for glaucoma, an iStent is an option. It produces the same physical relief that patients can expect to find from any of the laser surgery options while providing a longer lasting result. iStent should keep fluid build up to a minimum, although you may still need to take some additional medication to prevent your glaucoma from worsening.
Cataracts and glaucoma are not associated with each other, except for the fact that they can both occur as a part of the natural aging process, so people over the age of 60 are at risk for developing both. iStent surgery is performed at time of cataract surgery in order to reduce the pressure buildup within the eye, caused by glaucoma. While cataract surgery eliminates the presence of cataracts, thus curing them, this glaucoma surgery only works as a treatment option. There is no cure for glaucoma, which means you will likely not be able to stop taking your glaucoma medication, but you may be able to reduce it, under the discretion of your physician.
iStent surgery is not performed as a stand-alone operation, only as an add on to cataract surgery. This means that if you have glaucoma but are not suffering from cataracts it isn’t a viable option for treating your glaucoma. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat your glaucoma with laser surgeries, pills or eye drops though. The earlier you are able to catch glaucoma and start treating it, the less irreversible damage you will encounter. Doctors are only able to slow progression of glaucoma, they are not able to repair the damage it has already caused.
Who Is Eligible For An iStent?
If you are an adult patient who suffers from both cataracts and mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma, and has plans to undergo surgery to correct your cataracts you may be eligible for an iStent. It is important to talk to a physician about this option before your cataracts surgery as the iStent will need to be inserted during the same surgical procedure.
You will not be eligible for this surgery if your eyes have had significant prior trauma, an abnormal anterior segment, chronic inflammation, or have undergone prior glaucoma surgery of any type. Also children are not eligible for iStent surgeries.
iStent Technology Available In House
Advanced technologies have always been an important tool when it comes to professional eye care and here at Carim Eye & Retina Center LTD we’re dedicated to providing top of the line treatment to each and every one of our patients using the latest proven technologies available. It is through these procedures that we strive to improve the quality of life in all of our patients. Using iStent to reduce the buildup of fluid pressure within the eye we are frequently able to reduce the amount of medications our patients need to take to control their glaucoma, and decrease the need for any further future surgeries. These improvements allow our patients to live more fulfilling lives without stressing about the health of their eyes.
Schedule an appointment to meet with one of our highly trained and experienced professional Ophthalmologists today to see if the an iStent is right for you.
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