Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness, affecting approximately 78 million people worldwide.
Sadly, glaucoma cannot be cured so treatment is aimed at slowing or stopping vision loss by managing intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma treatment has traditionally required patients to use multiple types of prescription eye drops for the rest of their lives, and sometimes undergo complex and invasive eye surgery.
Technology has always played an important role in eye care. Today, this includes managing your mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma: because now we are able to add another step to your cataract surgery allowing treatment of your open-angle glaucoma in a completely new way. This is important because once diagnosed, you and most patients like you will spend the rest of your lives putting one, two or even three different kinds of drops in every day. Unfortunately, all of these drops will not only be inconvenient, but potentially very expensive. The iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent is designed to reduce your eye pressure and you can have it done at the same time you have cataract surgery.
How Does It Work?
iStent works like the stents used to prevent heart attacks and strokes. When blood vessels get clogged, a stent creates access to the vessel flow. While a highly innovative technology, how iStent 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 & spares the eye tissue often damaged in traditional surgeries
- Restoring this mechanism lowers and controls pressure within the eye
iStent is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. It is placed in your eye during cataract surgery and is so small that you won’t be able to see or feel it after the procedure is over. It is 20,000 times smaller than the lens implanted during cataract surgery. iStent is designed to create a permanent opening in your trabecular meshwork, and works continuously to improve the outflow of fluid from your eyes to help control eye pressure.
Safety and Efficacy
In a prospective, randomized, multicenter, 12-month US study, 68% of patients who received iStent remained medication free while sustaining target IOPs of ≤21 mm Hg versus only 50% of those who underwent cataract surgery alone (P=.004).
Percentage of Patients With Sustained a ≥20% Reduction in IOP Without Medication Use
For patients with combined cataract and open-angle glaucoma, iStent reduces IOP; while maintaining a strong safety profile.
How Can iStent Help Me?
Every day, you are probably taking one or more eye drops to control your eye pressure. By improving the outflow of fluid from your eyes, iStent works to help control your eye pressure. After implantation of iStent, many patients are able to control their eye pressure.
Controlling eye pressure is extremely important to reduce the risk for vision loss due to glaucoma. If you forget to take your eye drops or ‘skip a dose’, this can cause large changes in your eye pressure. Large changes in eye pressure can increases the risk for vision loss.
If you have both glaucoma and cataracts, ask your eye doctor if iStent is right for you.
Common Questions About iStent?
- What causes high eye or intraocular pressure?
Your eye uses an intricate fluid outflow system to keep it balanced and healthy. At the center of this system is the trabecular meshwork. In patients with open-angle glaucoma, a blockage in the trabecular meshwork keeps the fluid in your eye from draining properly. When this happens, fluid backs up and eye pressure rises.
- How does iStent lower eye pressure?
iStent is designed to create a permanent opening in your eye’s drainage system to improve the outflow of fluid from your eyes. By increasing fluid outflow, iStent lowers pressure within the eye.
- How big is the stent?
iStent is tiny. It is about the size of the letter c in the word cent on a penny. In fact, it is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. iStent is so small that you will not be able to see or feel it after the procedure is complete.
- Is iStent safe?
Yes. iStent is a safe glaucoma treatment that has been approved by the FDA for mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma.
- Will I be able to feel or see the iStent in my eye?
No. iStent is so small you won’t be able to see or feel it after the procedure is done.
- Does iStent hurt?
No. iStent does not hurt. You will not even know it is there. It does not add to the low level of inflammation that 100% of people get during the healing process from cataract surgery.
- Will I be able to stop taking my glaucoma eye drops?
In a US clinical trial, iStent patients who achieved a target pressure of <21, were more likely not to need their medications than patients with cataract only surgery. It helps decrease the likelihood that a second glaucoma medication would need to be added in the future.
- How much does iStent cost?
iStent is covered by Medicare and many private insurance plans. If you are interested in the procedure, you should ask staff to see if your plan includes coverage for iStent.
- Is iStent right for me?
If you are going to have cataract surgery and are currently taking one or more medications to lower your eye pressure, you may be a candidate for iStent. Talk to your doctor to find out if iStent is right for you.
Contact us for more information about our life-changing services. To schedule an appointment, you may call 803-256-0641.