Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. When fluid does not drain properly from the eye, the pressure on the inside of the eye increases and causes damage to the optic nerve. This damage is irreversible and can cause significant vision loss or blindness if intraocular pressure is not controlled. There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma and is often referred to as “the sneak thief of sight” because it develops slowly, is painless and has no initial symptoms.
The most common treatment for open-angle glaucoma is eye drops. These drops must be taken daily to maintain a safe intraocular pressure. Even though eye drops are safe and may be viewed as the “tried and true” glaucoma treatment, they have some drawbacks. Glaucoma drops can be expensive as a recurring medical expense, and patients may experience some negative side effects.
What if your open-angle glaucoma could be treated so that you do not need to rely on a daily eye drop to lower your eye pressure? If you have glaucoma and cataracts, you may be a candidate for a procedure that can help both eye conditions. Micro-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) is designed to be performed in conjunction with cataract surgery to remove a cataract and lower intraocular pressure. In the procedure, the surgeon inserts a microstent, about the size of an eyelash, into the eye’s drainage system to open and enlarge it. Increasing flow of fluid gradually lowers intraocular pressure. This microstent performs much like a heart stent for individuals with coronary artery disease.
MIGS has had very positive results for cataract and glaucoma patients, but it may not be the best procedure for everyone. Those with uncontrolled intraocular pressure and significant visual field loss are not good candidates for MIGS. Also, MIGS is not recommended if the patient does not have cataracts or if he or she does not have open-angle glaucoma. Talk to your doctor about whether MIGS would improve your vision. Finally, make sure that you are staying current with your comprehensive eye exams. Getting regular vision screenings is the best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma and cataracts and preserve your sight (Source: Healio).