If you have cataracts and mild to moderate glaucoma, you may be a candidate for a microstent in conjunction with cataract surgery. According to an article published in Ophthalmology Times, intraocular pressure, or IOP, can often be reduced through this safe, routine procedure.
Cataracts and glaucoma are the leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Age is one of the most common risk factors for these diseases, so it is not uncommon for aging adults to develop both cataracts and glaucoma.
Although cataracts and glaucoma can develop simultaneously, they require different types of treatment. Cataracts are easily treatable through cataract surgery, a short procedure that replaces the deteriorated lens with a new one. Glaucoma, on the other hand, has no cure and rarely has symptoms until vision loss occurs. Your eye doctor’s goal is to use safe, efficient surgical methods to lower inner eye pressure and insert a new, clear lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
Some patients may benefit from the insertion of microstent in conjunction with cataract surgery. A microstent is not appropriate for all glaucoma patients, but it may be right for you.
What is a Microstent?
There are many brands of microstents, but most function in a similar way. A microstent is about the size of an eyelash, and patients cannot feel it or see it in the eye. The effects are quite remarkable because this tiny device opens up the drainage canal in the eye to lower eye pressure. When eye pressure remains in a safe range, there is less risk of optic nerve damage and vision loss.
A microstent often pairs well with cataract surgery because the surgeon can use the same incision for two procedures. Randomized studies found stents can significantly lower patients’ eye pressure and reduce the need for medication and eye drops.
Call Your Ophthalmologist
Do you have cataracts and glaucoma? Talk to your ophthalmologist about whether you are a candidate for a microstent in conjunction with cataract surgery. One procedure could provide clear vision, reduced eye pressure and less dependence on glaucoma drops. Your eye doctor can create an individual treatment plan that is customized to your vision needs. There are many factors that will affect the type of surgery and timing of the surgery. These may include:
- Your age
- Your physical health
- How active you are
- The type of glaucoma you have and how aggressive it is
- The progression of your cataract
Your eye doctor may prefer to manage your glaucoma with medication or laser treatment until the cataract matures. Sometimes, just having cataract surgery may be sufficient to lower intraocular pressure and relieve symptoms of glaucoma.
As with any eye procedure, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of cataract and microstent surgery with your eye doctor, so call today to make an appointment.