Glaucoma refers to a group of eye conditions that can lead to damage of the optic nerve. Since this nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain, damage to this nerve can cause vision loss which is not reversible. In most cases, damage to the optic nerve is caused by increased pressure within the eye (also known as intraocular pressure or IOP). There may be no symptoms to warn you because there is usually no pain associated with increased eye pressure. If untreated or uncontrolled, glaucoma can cause blindness—it is the second leading cause of blindness in the world.
Is Glaucoma Curable?
Glaucoma is not curable, but with medication and/or surgery, it is possible to stop loss of vision in many cases. One of the newest surgical therapies for glaucoma is the iStentTM Trabecular Micro-Bypass stent. This tiny device is placed in your eye during cataract surgery. It is so small it cannot be felt or seen after surgery. The iStentTM improves the outflow of fluid from your eyes by creating a permanent opening in the trabecular meshwork of the eye (a sponge-like tissue located near the cornea and iris which conducts intraocular fluid through the eye’s drainage system and into the bloodstream).
Controlling IOP is extremely important to reduce the risk for vision loss. Using glaucoma medications correctly is very important because it prevents large fluctuations in eye pressure. These fluctuations can increase the risk for vision loss. Because the iStentTM is continuously working to reduce eye pressure, large fluctuations can be eliminated. Implantation of the iStentTM may reduce your reliance on glaucoma medications, but this will be your doctor’s decision.
At The Eye Clinic Surgicenter, we are excited to be able to offer this option to our cataract patients with glaucoma in Montana and Wyoming. The iStentTM can be safely implanted during cataract surgery and it will not limit treatment options that may be needed to maintain vision in the future. Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in more information on this subject or any other subject pertaining to eye health and protecting your vision. As always, your vision and your life are our passion!
May this new year bring you happiness and good health!