iSTENT: A New Glaucoma Treatment

There is a new, recently developed treatment for glaucoma —iSTENT. This device is the world’s smallest implant and is performed with a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The iSTENT device has also received FDA approval.

iSTENT was developed in 2012, and is designed for patients with mild to moderate glaucoma. The device works in a similar manner to stents placed in blood vessels to prevent strokes and heart attacks. It improves the outflow of fluid by controlling eye pressure.

What is Glaucoma?

There are different types of glaucoma; however, most involve the drainage system within the eye. Glaucoma causes the flow of this fluid to slow and as the fluid builds up, pressure within the eye increases. If the pressure is not controlled, the optic nerve and other eye parts can be damaged and result in vision loss. Often glaucoma does not present symptoms.

Treating Glaucoma with iSTENT

There are many glaucoma treatments including:

  • Eye drops that reduce pressure
  • Selective laser trabeculoplasty that treats specific cells
  • Trabeculectomy requires that a flap be cut in the white part of the eye to remove part of the meshwork causing pressure build up – allowing a new opening where the fluid can flow.

With the new iSTENT device, a permanent opening is created in the blockage that will improve the fluid outflow. Using the device can also help patients eliminate the need for medications such as eye drops.

The iSTENT is about the size of two numbers on a penny coin. It is placed in the eye during cataract surgery, which allows the surgeon to use the same incision. It is so small that patients will not feel or see the device after the procedure.

The Importance of Early Diagnosis

Diagnosing glaucoma early is important to prevent possible vision loss. A comprehensive eye examination is important to the early detection of this disease. This eye exam should include applanation tonometry, which is considered to be the most accurate method of measuring the internal pressure of the eye. People at risk should undergo an eye exam every two years at a minimum. People at a high risk include:

  • People over the age of 60
  • People of Mexican-American or African-American descent
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

While glaucoma predominantly affects older people, there have been cases of glaucoma developing in children.

Author Bio

Dr. Ron Rosa has been an Optometrist in Encinitas, CA for over 25 years. He is devoted to enhancing and correcting your eyesight by using state-of-the-art technology that will result in better vision, and a better quality of life.