If you’ve been managing your glaucoma symptoms with eye drops or medication, and have a cataract diagnosis, you may be an ideal candidate for iStent® glaucoma treatment. The iStent is a state-of-the-art titanium implant that is inserted during cataract surgery to lower eye pressure in patients with primary open angle glaucoma.
Benefits of iStent glaucoma trearentment include:
- Convenient & Effective: In the past, patients had to undergo two separate surgeries to treat glaucoma and cataracts. Today, the iStent provides a unique opportunity to reduce glaucoma symptoms and correct vision loss from cataracts in one simple procedure.
- Precise & Predictable: The iStent inject system was precision-engineered to provide surgeons with a straightforward, accurate, and secure method of stent implantation.
- Micro-Invasive: As a form of minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), the iStent procedure is associated with fewer complications and faster recovery time.
- Clinically Proven: The iStent and iStent inject® are approved by the FDA to treat primary open angle glaucoma and relieve pressure in the eye.
What is iStent?
The iStent is a microscopic implant used to treat high eye pressure caused by primary open angle glaucoma. Measuring only 1mm in length and 0.3mm in height, the iStent is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. It is also the smallest device known to be implanted in the human body.
What is iStent inject®?
The iStent inject is a second-generation version of the iStent implant for glaucoma. The newer procedure involves the injection of two stents into the drainage canal of the eye instead of one, which results in a more consistent and longer-lasting reduction of eye pressure. Some surgeons also find the iStent inject device easier to use, which can improve accuracy and precision when placing the stents inside the eye.
Both iStent procedures are forms of micro-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS), which have been proven to reduce dependence on eye drops. Modern MIGS procedures are often preferred over traditional glaucoma surgeries, such as a trabeculectomy, because they are generally easier to perform, faster to recover from, and safer for the patient.
How does the iStent work?
The front of the eye is filled with a clear fluid called aqueous humor. In a healthy eye, the fluid flows freely through the trabecular meshwork, the spongy tissue at the front of the eye, and into a drainage canal. When the fluid drains properly, intraocular pressure remains normal.
In a patient with open angle glaucoma, the fluid does not flow freely through the trabecular meshwork. This causes a buildup of aqueous humor, which results in high eye pressure levels that can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss.
The iStent works by creating a bypass between the trabecular meshwork and the natural drainage pathway of the eye. This allows excess fluid to drain properly, thereby causing a reduction in eye pressure levels. Lowering intraocular pressure can significantly reduce the risk of optic nerve damage and prolong vision in glaucoma patients.
Why is the iStent inserted during cataract surgery?
Removing the eye’s natural lens during cataract surgery can improve the outflow of fluid and result in a natural reduction in intraocular pressure. This physiological reaction provides the best opportunity to treat glaucoma patients, as eye pressure can be lowered even further by the iStent or iStent inject.
Who is a candidate for iStent?
The iStent inject is most often recommended for patients who have stable, mild to moderate primary open angle glaucoma and a cataract diagnosis. To find out if you’re a candidate, contact us to meet with a glaucoma specialist. The Nielsen Eye Center provides glaucoma treatment in Boston and all of the South Shore, such as Quincy, Weymouth, Norwell, and Norwood MA.
What to expect with iStent
- Before the procedure: Your doctor will advise you to continue the use of prescription eye drops until your procedure is complete and your eye pressure levels are evaluated. You will also be asked to provide a list of all the medications you currently take, as well as answer questions in regard to your medical history.
- During the procedure: Cataract removal and iStent implantation are performed under local anesthesia. Since the eyes are numbed prior to surgery, you’ll feel no pain. Once the cataracts are removed, your surgeon will implant the iStent device. Depending on the skill level of your doctor, insertion of the iStent can take as little as two minutes.
- After the procedure: The iStent procedure is performed in an outpatient facility, which means patients are able to go home the same day of the surgery. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to help reduce irritation and the risk of infection. A follow-up appointment is typically scheduled for the next day, which helps to monitor eye pressure levels and ensure the efficacy of the procedure. It’s important to avoid any activity that may result in an increase in eye pressure, such as sports, heavy lifting, or other forms of physical strain. The majority of patients are back to their normal routine within a week or less.
What are the risks?
The iStent procedure has a very low risk of complications. However, there are risks associated with cataract surgery that may include inflammation or infection. It’s also normal to experience a small amount of bleeding where the iStent was inserted. This is usually temporary and solved with topical eye medication.
Very rarely, the iStent may become obstructed or dislocated. Medications, laser treatment, or repositioning of the stent can fix these issues.
iStent Surgery, Boston
Curious to know if you’re a candidate for the iStent? The Nielsen Eye Center is dedicated to offering patients the most advanced glaucoma treatment in the Greater Boston area. Our team of board-certified ophthalmologists are proud to offer iStent treatment for glaucoma in Boston and all of the South Shore, such as Quincy, Weymouth, Norwell, and Norwood MA. Schedule an appointment at a location near you today!