The iStent: Technology for Glaucoma

Posted in Eye Blog, Surgery

Here at Cascadia Eye, our doctors are always looking for the best technologies available for every aspect of your vision. From the latest in cataract and LASIK and cornea surgery, to advanced testing equipment and more, this forms one of the three cornerstones of our commitment (providing comprehensive service, care that is personal and local, and investing in proven technologies).

Similar in purpose to the type of stents used to prevent heart attacks, the iStent® Trabecular Micro-Bypass, or iStent® for short, can be used to reduce eye pressure in patients with glaucoma. Our surgeons have been using this tiny device since 2016, and its results are amazing.

How the iStent Works

iStent actual size compared to penny

As we explain on our glaucoma page, if the eye is unable to drain properly, pressure within the eye mounts. The iStent® is a minuscule device akin to a very small tube or straw and is about the size of Abraham Lincoln’s eyebrow on a penny. It can be placed during cataract surgery to slow or halt the progression of glaucoma, a common eye disease, providing an excellent treatment option for many people.

If fluid builds up in the eye, usually as a result of a blocked drainage canal, eye pressure can increase and damage the blood vessels and optic nerve. This condition is known as glaucoma, and it is one of the leading causes of blindness. During surgery, the iStent® is placed in the area of blockage, creating a permanent opening that keeps the outflow going, and therefore lowering the eye pressure.

Diabetic Eye Diagram

Depending on the severity of glaucoma and other individual factors, the iStent may not fix the pressure problem entirely or remove the need for glaucoma medications. But it does safely relieve pressure in a permanent way, regardless of the extent.

 
Also interesting to note: according to Glaukos, the makers of the iStent, it is also “the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA” – 20,000 times smaller than the (already tiny) intra-ocular lens used in cataract surgery. You can read more details about this amazing micro-device on the Glaukos website.

Contact Cascadia Eye

If you would like to learn more about the iStent, or if you would like to schedule an appointment at Cascadia Eye, please contact us today. We are happy to answer any questions you might have!

In addition, join us on Facebook or Twitter to ask your questions about eyes, exams, and our practice. We’d love to hear from you – and there might be a blog to address your questions in the future.


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