Medical Minute: New Glaucoma Device

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. It happens when the optic nerve in the back of the eye gets damaged, usually from elevated pressure inside the eye. Eye drops or surgery can reduce the pressure. Now, a new device is reducing surgery time and error.

A few months ago, Janelle Kelly nearly lost her peripheral vision because of glaucoma, an eye disorder that Dr. Richard Cohn calls a plumbing problem.

"If the drain doesn't work as well as the faucet, then the pressure inside the eye goes up, and that damages the optic nerve."

A tiny stainless steel shunt repairs the problem.

"The purpose of this is to actually allow a little bit of fluid to escape from the eye in patients when their eye pressure is too high."

That's how most glaucoma surgeries work, but because the shunt is so small, it has benefits over the others, including fewer margins for error and less

"The traditional glaucoma surgeries can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half to do. The nice thing about the express glaucoma shunt is it's only a ten-minute procedure."

Dr. Cohn says the results are encouraging.

"Studies have shown that patients who are using maybe two glaucoma medications, prior to surgery, might end up on just one or maybe no medications after surgery."

Out of the 30 patients he's implanted, Dr. Cohn says it's worked in 28, including Janelle. She says she can't even feel her implant, which helps keep her mind and her eye on other things.

For more information, contact:

Jim McGillis
Surgical Coordinator
Cohn Eye Center
1850 Greenwhich Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 647-7227 x 106

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