Glaucoma, an eye disease that damages the optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness, can now be treated with a simple injection, eye surgeons have said. In glaucoma, eye pressure plays a role in damaging the optic nerve.
A new technology developed by a US-based company relieves the pressure in the eye with a minimally invasive method, thus doing away with the need for scalpels and stitches, the experts noted. It involves using a hypodermic needle to inject a tiny pliable drainage tube into the eye, allowing excess fluid to flow out, the Daily Mail reported.
The Xen Gel Stent developed by California-based AqueSys Inc is six mm long and about the width of a human hair. It is injected through a small self-sealing corneal incision using a simple, preloaded injector.
It was "quicker and safer" than current methods, Vik Sharma, a consultant eye surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital in London, was quoted as saying.
But the XEN Gel Stent is an investigational device, which means it has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet.
The current approach in the management of patients with glaucoma begins with medications followed by laser surgery, or trabeculectomy, a treatment that frequently involves installing a small rigid tube in the eye to drain it.
This is attached to a metal plate embedded below the eye, which helps draw the fluid away. The eye must be cut to insert these relatively bulky items, and stitched up again, which leads to a high complication rate.
By comparison, the Xen Gel Stent is delivered directly via a hypodermic needle into the eye which has potential to lower complications rate compared to traditional methods.