Eye HealthLifestyle Topics
Smoking and AMD
Smoking increases the risk of developing macular degeneration—quit smoking to help keep your eyes healthy.
Wait on Cataract Surgery?
An eyeglass prescription change may be all you need to improve your vision with early-stage cataracts.
Protect your sight every day
Wear a hat and sunglasses year round to prevent UV damage to your eyes.
Cozy Home = Dry Eye?
This fall and winter, when indoor heating is in use, a humidifier or a pan of water on the radiator adds moisture to dry air.
Shield Your Eyes From Allergies?
Sunglasses or eyeglasses can help prevent pollen from getting in your eyes.
What Is an Ophthalmologist?
Are You Fit at 40?
A baseline eye exam is recommended at age 40, when the signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur.
Tiny drainage device may free some glaucoma patients from eye drop medications
A tiny medical device, no larger than an eyelash, may significantly reduce eye pressure in glaucoma patients and allow some to stop using eye drop medications. In its first trial year in the United States, the Hydrus mini-stent worked well in all patients studied. If future studies prove the long-term effectiveness of the Hydrus and similar mini-stents, it will be a significant victory for glaucoma care. Millions of people could be protected from vision loss or blindness.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve. If left untreated, glaucoma eventually leads to blindness. Currently, the only proven way to combat glaucoma is by lowering patients' intraocular pressure (IOP). Eyedrop medications are effective, but some patients struggle to use the drops consistently enough to control their IOP. Surgery is an option for patients with advanced glaucoma, but it can carry additional risks.
The Hydrus mini-stent is implanted in a simple, non-invasive procedure. All 69 patients in the Hydrus study achieved acceptable IOP levels. These patients had mild or moderate open-angle glaucoma — the most common form of the disease. Forty of them had the mini-stent implanted during cataract surgery, a procedure that can also help reduce IOP, while the other 29 patients had the stent implant only. No serious complications occurred in either group. At the six-month follow up, 85 percent of combined surgery and 70 percent of stent-only patients no longer needed eye drop medications to control their IOP. The results remained stable at the one year follow up.
Ophthalmologists are hopeful that mini-stents will allow them to treat patients earlier and more effectively, before serious vision loss occurs.
Stents work by providing a new drainage channel for the eye's aqueous fluid, circumventing the patient's own clogged or blocked channels. They vary in design, materials and where they are implanted in the eye. Though early results are encouraging, it will be several years before the long-term safety and efficacy of this treatment approach will be fully known.
Page updated: Jan. 24, 2014