If you have glaucoma and cataracts, you may be able to have both conditions treated in the same procedure. About five percent of patients have both cataracts and glaucoma, but the way these two diseases are treated are quite different. Cataract surgery involves removing the deteriorated lens and replacing it with a customized, artificial lens. Glaucoma treatments can range from eye drops to pills to surgical procedures, and the method of treatment depends on the type and severity of glaucoma.
The goal of glaucoma surgery is to lower intraocular pressure (pressure inside the eye). An innovative device called iStent can be implanted in the eye during cataract surgery to help maintain safe levels of eye pressure. About the size of a grain of sand, the iStent is the smallest FDA-approved device for implantation. The tiny device is placed in the drainage canal of the eye to increase the flow of intraocular fluid out of the eye, to lower eye pressure and preserve the optic nerve.
The iStent is so small that patients cannot even feel the device in their eye. Many patients who have chosen the iStent have reduced or eliminated their need for eye drops, and many have experienced significant cost savings in their prescriptions. The best news is that iStent is covered by many insurance plans.
The iStent is an effective treatment for glaucoma and can only be implanted during cataract surgery. Talk to your ophthalmologist to see if iStent would be an effective method of treatment for managing your glaucoma. Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, but there are certain risk factors such as age, family history and race (African Americans are much more likely to develop glaucoma) that increase the likelihood of developing the disease. Getting routine comprehensive eye exams is the best way to preserve your vision, so schedule your exam soon (Source: CBS Indy).