BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Now there's a brand new treatment for those with glaucoma. It's a micro-stent, called the iStent, and it was tested right here in the Twin Cities.
Robert Poirer, a retired ophthalmologist, has glaucoma which can lead to blindness due to increased pressure in the eye. Eye drops from two medications reduced his pressure only so much. So when he heard about the iStent, he made sure he was one of the first in line.
Poirier said, "As a retired MD, this has been the most eye opening experience that I've ever had."
Dr. Thomas Samuelson with Minnesota Eye Consultants was the primary investigator on the FDA trial for the tiny one-millimeter iStent, which drains fluid from the eye to lower pressure.
Samuelson said, "These new stents are completely novel. There has not been
anything like them in the past."
He says it is safer than getting traditional glaucoma surgery because the
iStent is implanted during cataract surgery.
Samuelson explained, "The new stents allow us to do it through a 1.5
millimeter incision through the cornea, which is a very safe incision. It is
the same incision for cataract surgery. We place this one millimeter stent in
the eye's natural drainage channel and it's incredibly safe."
Poirier said his results are perfect. He said, "My eye pressures are
preferably normal so, I mean, to me it's an absolute miracle."
Poirier has gone from using two medications to one.
Dr. Samuelson says some patients no longer require medication at all.
Traditionally, glaucoma surgery was only done for advanced cases.
With the iStent, Samuelson said, "For the first time we have safe surgeries
that can be used earlier in the disease."
Glaucoma is not curable so this new micro stent will not reverse progression
of the disease. However, it can slow or stall progression.
Dr. Samuelson says the new procedure is now paid for by Medicare.
Boys with ADHD may be at risk for obesity later in life, according to a new studyMore >>
Boys with ADHD may be at risk for obesity later in life, according to a new study - which, if confirmed in larger studies, may have implications for more than 4 million kids in the United States living with the disorder.More >>
At the top of a flight of stairs with no elevator in sight, registered nurse Katarzyna Kaseja leans over the rickety metal bars of a crib. More >>
At the top of a flight of stairs with no elevator in sight, registered nurse Katarzyna Kaseja leans over the rickety metal bars of a crib. Her 4-year-old patient, a ventilator tube fastened to his throat, reaches out to take her hand.More >>
A human embryo, containing about a couple hundred cells, is smaller than the period at the end of a sentence. More >>
A human embryo, containing about a couple hundred cells, is smaller than the period at the end of a sentence. Scientists need strong microscopes to see these precursors to life, and to take from them stem cells, which have the potential to become any cell in the body.More >>