Mini-stent shows promising glaucoma control

The implantation of a microstent into the eyes of patients with open-angle glaucoma could remove their need to use eye drops to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP), show the 1-year results of a clinical trial.

The study was presented at the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago, Illinois, USA, and shows that 100% of participants' IOP levels had reduced to an acceptable value a year after receiving the stent.

"So far, mini-stents appear to have important advantages in that they allow us to treat open-angle glaucoma at earlier stages and with lower complication risk," said presenting co-author Thomas Samuelson (Minnesota Eye Consultants, Plymouth, USA) in a media statement given at the Annual Meeting.

Forty of the total 69 patients recruited from six centers who had the stent implanted also underwent cataract surgery, and none of the participants reported any significant complications.

Indeed, in available data for 29 of the cataract and microstent combined group, average eye-drop medication-free IOP reduced from 24.6 mmHg at baseline to 15.5 mmHg at 1 year.

The Academy release states that a number of mini-stents in addition to the Hydrus (Ivantis, Irvine, California, USA) are currently being developed or trialed for treatment of open-angle glaucoma. The disease is the most common form of glaucoma and affects almost three million people in the USA and 60 million worldwide.

The stents work by providing a new drainage channel for the eye's aqueous fluid, circumventing the patient's own clogged or blocked channels, explain the authors.

"If the devices can effectively control IOP over many years, it would be a real breakthrough in combating this blinding disease," commented Samuelson, who cited the case of a patient who has received the stent in both eyes following failed medications and drainage procedures, and who still has acceptable IOP measurements 2 years later.

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