Sometimes it’s hard to try something new, especially an innovative medical treatment. Researchers and eye care specialists are continuing to explore possibilities in the future of glaucoma surgery to offer patients the most current and up-to-date methods to treat this optic nerve disease.
Because long-term follow up is time-consuming and expensive, it is difficult to track the effectiveness of new glaucoma treatment options compared to existing ones. Glaucoma patients must rely on the expertise and advice of their doctors when seeking the best course of treatment (Source: Glaucoma Research Foundation).
Some of the newest treatment methods for glaucoma include:
- Micropulse laser trabeculoplasty (MLT)- This procedure is similar to argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT), but it uses less energy and causes less inflammation, more like a selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT). The laser energy is delivered in short microbursts over a longer period of time, which makes the temperature rise slowly. This helps reduce the risk of a spike in eye pressure that sometimes happens after a laser procedure.
- Canaloplasty- This procedure is unique because it is non-penetrating. Canaloplasty is designed to open up the eye’s drainage angle to increase the flow of eye fluid and lower intraocular pressure. It is less invasive because it works on the surface of the eye.
- Trabectome- Trabectome is a tiny, probe-like device that is placed in the front of the eye through the cornea and opens the eye’s drainage system. One of the major benefits of Trabectome is that it can be done in conjunction with or independent of cataract surgery.
- Ex-PRESS mini shunt- This small stainless steel device is about the size of a grain of rice, but it can make a significant difference in eye pressure. The shunt diverts fluid from the inside of the eye to a bleb on the outside surface of the eye.
- I-Stent-This microscopic titanium device helps maintain an opening in the trabecular meshwork (the eye’s drain) to help fluid get out of the eye through the natural drainage pathway. This is done at the time of cataract surgery.
If you have glaucoma, there is more reason than ever to be optimistic about your vision. New studies are being performed each year to improve existing devices and techniques and introduce new ones. Talk to your doctor and get all the facts so that you can take proactive steps to protect your vision!