It’s now 8:43, on this Tuesday morning and 65 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma, 4 million of those right here in the U.S.

And for many, there is now hope In the fight against this disease, a minimally invasive procedure. Sunrise’s Kira Klapper joins us in the studio now with more of this new alternative. Hey Kira.

Hey Randall, hey Pattie. It’s called the canaloplasty, and it’s available to help patients who aren’t ready for surgery and maybe frustrated with their daily medication. It is seen as unprecedented way of doing glaucoma surgery and there are only three specialists who offered in the state. I spoke with the only doctor offering the procedure on the central coast and the patient who received the care. They will say it’s an eye opening innovation.

“And how’s your vision?”

“My vision is good, yes”

Helen Cummings has worn glasses for as long as she can remember. She has treated her glaucoma with eye drops for just as long and it wasn’t until July of this year that things started looking up; when she had a canaloplasty done on her left eye.

“I was so amazed and saw positive results of being able to see out of that eye, that as soon as that healed we scheduled another one for October 6.”

Canaloplasty has been around for three years and has been performed in Canada and Europe. It is offered by just three Doctors in California, one being Dr. Toni Meyers in Sta. Barbara.

“I think it’s really important as a physician to keep up-to-date on the latest technology. And that’s one of my mission, is to help patients; you know, to get the best patient or the best treatment that’s available.”

Canaloplasty uses what’s being called the breakthrough microcatheter technology, in a simple and minimally invasive procedure. With traditional glaucoma surgery, doctors would create a bypass in the eye’s drainage system, bypassing it completely.

“And it works very well but it is associated with more risk for the patient. So Canaloplasty is very unique in that it’s one of the only surgeries that we have that actually access the natural drainage system and get it to work again.”

Diminishing the need for multiple daily eye drops commonly associated with glaucoma treatment. But it’s not without what Helen called “it’s one downside”. It takes about a month for the eye to heal after the procedure.

“For the first three weeks, you say “Oh gee, what has happened and it is quite blurry.”

“So in Helen’s case, we were able to remove the cataracts and also do the glaucoma surgery at the same time. And now she’s very happy, she had great result and she’ seeing a lot better and it just makes it all worthwhile.”

“To me it’s like a miracle, to be able to sit somewhere or read in bed and be able to see.”

Dr. Meyers tells me, canaloplasty is traditionally for patients that have earlier stages of glaucoma and it’s for patients who haven’t had a lot of surgeries on their eyes in the past, so if you had glaucoma surgery you probably wouldn’t be a candidate for this procedure .

For more information on where to find the procedure on the central coast, we created a link on our new and improved website, just log the and click on story links. For sunrise, I’m Kira Klapper, back to you.

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