Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh are using a new treatment for glaucoma. They could save the sight of millions of people with this disease. Christine Sorensen is here with more, Christine.
More than four million Americans have glaucoma and more than 100 hundred thousands of them go blind from it each year. This is new minimally invasive surgery, will not being called a cure, could be a permanent solution for these patients.
“Good morning. How are you?”
Six years ago, Rose Mary Surgent find out she had glaucoma, a built up of fluid in the eye that put pressure on the optic nerve. Left untreated, damage to the nerve leads to deteriorating eyesight and even blindness. At first Rosemary treated her disease with eye drops, but then she heard about the new canaloplasty procedure being offered at the eye and ear hospital.
“Our goal in glaucoma surgery is to lower eye pressure and there’s a number of different ways to do it and how canaloplasty is different is that it basically retains the eye’s normal architecture.”
Doctors described the procedure as like an angioplasty for the eye. They inserted tiny catheter into the eye’s drainage canal which may have become blocked or narrowed keeping fluid from draining from the eye.
“Well, that makes it easier for the fluid to leave the eye. And the good thing is the patients not left with a hole in their eye which make them prone to infection. Also there’s the tendency to … it’s difficult to have too much fluid in the eye, it kind of lower the eye pressure too much, which could make you a blurry vision.”
Rose Mary had her surgery in October and was back to normal in less than three weeks. Not having to deal with nightly eye drops is great, but the surgery provided her with much more than that; Peace of mind.
“It’s not cure, but it’s controlled, so I can be …I can be at ease and know that, you know, my eyes are gonna be ok. It’s something I don’t have to worry about anymore.”
And Doctors say Canaloplasty is more effective than laser surgery for glaucoma which is temporary and can cause scarring or traditional surgery which has a lot more potential complications. And that the procedure is done on an outpatient basis, the patient returning home the same day.
For more information on the procedure and how to get in touch with the doctors at UPMC, just log on at KOKA.com/help.