When it comes to managing glaucoma with medicated drops, patients typically complain about two things: Glaucoma drops are expensive, and remembering to use the drops multiple times per day can be a challenge. Enter MIGS (minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery), a procedure performed during cataract surgery that lowers intraocular pressure and reduces the need for drops. Key-Whitman Eye Center is one of the few refractive surgery practices in Texas to offer patients options for MIGS.
Key-Whitman Eye Center’s Dr. Jeffrey Whitman explains the challenges patients face using glaucoma drops.
Left untreated, glaucoma increases pressure inside the eye, ultimately leading to damage of the optic nerve in the back of the eye. According to Key-Whitman Eye Center’s President and Chief Surgeon Jeffrey Whitman, “Glaucoma is a disease that is both progressive and silent. Glaucoma patients lose peripheral vision first, which often goes unnoticed because the central vision is still fine. As it progresses, glaucoma eventually affects the central vision. Unfortunately, the vision that’s taken away with glaucoma can never be retrieved again.”
Before MIGS was available, patients had to rely on medicated glaucoma drops or more invasive forms of glaucoma surgery, like the trabeculectomy. During trabeculectomy, the eye surgeon makes a small hole in the eye wall (sclera) and stitches a thin trap door over the hole, allowing aqueous fluid to drain out and reducing intraocular pressure.
Thanks to the innovation of MIGS, patients with moderate to mild glaucoma have choices for less invasive treatments than the trabeculectomy. The MIGS procedure is performed at the same time as cataract surgery. One advantage of coming to Key-Whitman is the practice offers patients more than one option when it comes to MIGS and glaucoma stents.
“The two devices we use the most are the iStent Inject and Hydrus Microstent. With the iStent Inject, the eye surgeon places two little microscopic drains in the drainage area of the eye. For patients who are a better fit for the Hydrus Microstent, the procedure involves the placement of a micro scaffold in the drainage area of the eye. Both of these procedures can lower intraocular pressure in a very potent way,” explains Dr. Whitman.
Dr. Whitman explains why glaucoma patients with cataracts should ask their eye doctor about MIGS.
Let’s get back to what’s really important to the vast number of glaucoma patients: Glaucoma drops are expensive and it’s a hassle to remember to put in multiple drops, multiple times a day. This is something Dr. Whitman hears every day and one of the reasons he is such a huge proponent of the iStent and Hydrus devices.
As he explains, “The number one benefit patients notice following the MIGS procedure is they either have to use no drops or less drops than they’ve had to before. This means they end up saving money. Even more important, they’re saving their vision by getting better control of their glaucoma and their lives.”
When it comes to getting MIGS, there are two big stipulations. First, at the present time, the procedure can only be performed in conjunction with cataract surgery. Second, only a limited number of cataract surgeons in Dallas-Fort Worth offer MIGS to their cataract patients. That’s why, if you are a glaucoma patient, it’s important to ask about MIGS before you commit to a surgeon for your cataract surgery.
“The financial, convenience and health benefits for patients of MIGS are significant. My hope is that one day, it will be required that all cataract surgery patients with glaucoma, who are good candidates for MIGS, will be offered the MIGS procedure. In the meantime, we welcome glaucoma patients in the state of Texas to contact us about their options for MIGS with cataract surgery at Key-Whitman,” Dr. Whitman says.
To learn more about options for minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) and cataract surgery at Key-Whitman Eye Center in Dallas, please call us at (214) 220-3937. If you prefer to connect with us online, feel free to set up an appointment here. Our team of eye doctors in Dallas, Arlington, Mesquite, Plano and Rockwall are ready to answer your questions about all of your options for better vision.
Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., is a nationally renowned eye surgeon, board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He has been the President and Chief Surgeon of Key-Whitman Eye Centers in Dallas since 1996 and was past President of the Outpatient Ophthalmic Surgery Society, American College of Eye Surgeons and The Dallas Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Whitman is a frequent participant in clinical trials and is known as a respected researcher, innovator and leader in refractive cataract surgery, LASIK eye surgery and for his extensive experience implanting high-technology lenses. He is frequently called upon to serve on the boards of local and national medical associations and organizations. Dr. Whitman and his wife reside in Dallas and enjoy fitness, playing tennis, snow skiing and traveling.
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