World’s smallest medical implant helps treat glaucoma

By Jay Crandall
As an avid tennis player, Joe Morton says he started to notice something was wrong about three years ago.
“All of the sudden I kept getting hit by tennis balls when I was playing, which was not my normal thing,” he said.
It turned out Morton was suffering from a loss of overall vision and depth perception caused by glaucoma, which Dr. Neil Atodaria with Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center says is known as a silent thief of vision.
It is characterized by damage to the optic nerve and it has few symptoms.
Atodaria says the damage occurs when the natural fluid in our eyes cannot drain properly, causing a buildup of pressure.
“And the optic nerve where it enters the back of the eye is sort of one of the weaker parts of the eye and those nerves are very susceptible to pressure,” he said.
There are a number of things doctors can do to relieve pressure.
“Usually, we start with eye drops, but if eye drops are not controlling it, sometimes we move on to other things such as laser and surgery,” Atodaria said.
Morton was prescribed eye drops ;and while he would do anything to save his vision, they were both expensive and inconvenient to use several times a day.
“Having your daily schedule regulated by having to take eye drops is a little bit of a nuisance,” Morton said.
Atodaria says surgery also comes with risks, which is why he offered Morton another option — a tiny implant.
“It is officially the smallest object we can put inside someone’s body,” the doctor explains.
It is a tiny stent, about the size of a letter on a coin, made by Glaukos.
Atodaria said the eye stent is implanted into the eye to open up those blocked passages, “where we are trying to create another pathway for that fluid to get out of the eye.”
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Source: AZ Family