New CyPass Micro-Stent Treatment Available

Globally, glaucoma affects more than 60 million people, causing progressive damage of the optic nerve. Early diagnosis of glaucoma is critical to manage the disease, as it is often asymptomatic and may go undetected until it is at an advanced stage.

As the disease progresses, one may experience the loss of peripheral (side), tunnel vision or blind spots. Glaucoma may result in gradual, irreversible loss of vision and blindness.

The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown; however, elevated intraocular pressure is generally present and is the only known modifiable risk factor. Glaucoma is a chronic disease and patients can be treated with eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these methods.

The CyPass Micro-Stent, a new FDA-approved glaucoma device,  is a small device that is implanted just below the surface of the eye. It is designed to reduce intraocular pressure in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma and may reduce or eliminate the need for glaucoma medications. Carolina Eye Associates is one of the first eye centers in the nation to perform the procedure.

Primary open-angle glaucoma is associated with a build-up of excess fluid when the fluid can no longer properly exit the eye. As a result, intraocular pressure levels increase. The CyPass Micro-Stent is designed to enhance one of the natural drainage pathways in the eye. This allows the excess fluid in the eye to drain, thus reducing intraocular pressure levels.

Winston Garris, MD, a glaucoma and cataract surgeon at Carolina Eye, performed the first four surgeries at the Eye Surgery Center of the Carolinas in Southern Pines.

“This new treatment option offers cataract patients with mild to moderate primary open-angle glaucoma a less-invasive means of lowering intraocular pressure than traditional glaucoma surgery and permits decreased dependence on topical glaucoma medication.” Dr. Garris says. “We are now able to access a part of the eye that we have never safely and reliably been able to do in the past.”