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iStent – A New and Safe Approach to Glaucoma Surgery

iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass

We are proud to offer the newest technology for glaucoma treatment. As a glaucoma specialist, Dr. Lewis and Dr. Brubaker are dedicated to finding new ways to help their patients who suffer from glaucoma. A major challenge of fighting the disease is understanding that glaucoma isn’t just one disease but a group of conditions that cause the eye to lose sight. Defining what condition each patient has and the best way to treat that specific condition is what makes treating the disease so complicated. Dr. Lewis was the first U.S. investigator to study the iStent in 2002, the newest FDA approved surgical device developed from a company, Glaukos. This device was designed to improve the eye’s natural fluid outflow to safely lower eye pressure by creating a permanent opening in the trabecular meshwork.

The iStent, the smallest device implanted in man, is placed in your eye during cataract surgery. It is so small that you won’t be able to see or feel it after the procedure is over. An added benefit to this new surgery is the iStent does not limit other treatment options that could help maintain your vision in the future if your glaucoma remains uncontrolled.

While mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma is very common, many people are unaware of their condition, especially in the early stages, when their vision may be unaffected.  In many people, open-angle glaucoma is characterized by an increase in the intraocular pressure (IOP) of your eye. This pressure is caused by the buildup of fluid with the eye. Too much fluid raises the pressure, which can cause a gradual loss of vision. And while glaucoma moves slowly, its damage is irreparable.

The world’s tiniest medical device — iStent — is 20,000 times smaller than the intraocular lenses (IOL) used in your cataract surgery. But the size of iStent is only part of its story. By increasing the eye's ability to drain fluid, this technology is designed to reduce the pressure in your eye.

In a U.S. clinical study, 68% of glaucoma patients who received iStent remained medication-free at 12 months while sustaining a target IOP of ≤ 21 mm Hg vs. only 50% of patients who underwent cataract surgery alone.

iStent works like the stents used to prevent heart attacks and strokes. When blood vessels get clogged, stents create access to vessel flow. While a highly innovative technology, how iStents works is elegantly simple:

  • If you have glaucoma, over time the eye’s natural drainage system becomes clogged
  • iStent creates a permanent opening through the blockage to improve the eye’s natural outflow
  • Restoring this mechanism lowers and controls pressure within the eye

iStent: managing glaucoma while treating your cataracts

iStent Example

iStent is implanted during your cataract surgery procedure. Once implanted, iStent will begin working to safely and effectively manage pressure. What’s more, patients who receive iStent may experience a reduction in glaucoma medications; but this will be at the discretion of your physician.

The iStent® Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent is indicated for use in conjunction with cataract surgery for the reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) in adult patients with mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma currently treated with ocular hypotensive medication.

If you are a patient who has cataracts and suffers from open-angle glaucoma you might be a perfect candidate for the iStent. Please call our office for more information today.