Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss in adults over the age of sixty. It’s common, and the vision changes it causes are irreversible.
Glaucoma often doesn’t present any noticeable symptoms until it advances and causes severe vision loss. Due to this, glaucoma is referred to as the silent thief of sight.
If diagnosed early, your eye doctor can effectively help manage your glaucoma through medication and treatment. For those who’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, MIGS comes highly recommended as it’s a minimally invasive and effective form of treatment for many people.
Keep reading to learn why MIGS is a trusted way of treating glaucoma!
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve sends information from your eye to your brain.
When it’s damaged, your brain cannot receive all the information to form a whole, clear image. As damage occurs to your optic nerve, your peripheral vision starts to be affected.
If glaucoma is left untreated, your vision will tunnel in from the sides to the center of your visual field.
What Causes Glaucoma?
There are several forms of glaucoma. The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma.
In open-angle glaucoma, the primary drainage angle of your eye, which is the channel between your iris and cornea, is open. However, the semi-permeable tissue surrounding your eyes, called the trabecular meshwork, is blocked off.
When this meshwork is blocked off, it causes the fluid that is flowing out of your eye to build up. The buildup of this fluid will cause your intraocular pressure, or IOP, to go up.
Eventually, this pressure damages the optic nerve. There is no cure for glaucoma, but treatment to prevent further damage and lower your IOP can preserve your vision.
Early detection and treatment are paramount in preventing any vision loss from glaucoma. During your routine eye exams, your eye doctor can detect glaucoma if it is present and start you on a treatment plan right away.
If you notice any peripheral or central vision changes, see your eye doctor immediately. Since glaucoma doesn’t show symptoms until you experience vision loss, regular eye exams are the only way to diagnose it permanently damages your vision.
What Is MIGS?
MIGS stands for Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery. These series of procedures take common glaucoma surgeries and make them less invasive.
Since they are less invasive, they require less recovery time than traditional glaucoma surgery. Treatment for glaucoma usually involves a combination of medication that lowers your IOP and surgery.
Your eye doctor may employ different treatment methods depending on how severe your glaucoma is. MIGS is an alternative to traditional surgeries and in combination with medication, it can lower your IOP and prevent further damage.
Your eye doctor can also implant MIGS devices to control eye pressure during your cataract surgery. Instead of having two separate procedures, you can help treat both conditions during one surgery.
Who Is a Good Candidate for MIGS?
MIGS is for people with mild to moderate open-angle glaucoma. While effective, MIGS isn’t as effective at lowering the IOP of someone with severe glaucoma as traditional surgeries.
However, MIGS may be a great option to treat glaucoma if your eye doctor detected it early. It is highly effective at keeping your IOP down, especially when used in conjunction with medication.
To determine if you are a good candidate for MIGS, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.
What Kind of MIGS Are Available at Sugiki Portis Eye Center?
At Sugiki Portis Eye Center, we offer a few different MIGS procedures. These include:
During a trabecular bypass, your eye surgeon inserts a small drainage device into the trabecular meshwork. The device allows the fluid to drain through the trabecular meshwork quicker, compensating for the blocked areas.
This surgery is basically a mini trabeculectomy. A trabeculectomy is a traditional glaucoma surgery where your eye doctor creates a hole in the outer lining of your eye.
Then, they place a device called a stent through that hole, allowing fluid to drain from the eye through it. The difference between a traditional trabeculectomy and a microtrabeculectomy is that your eye surgeon performs a microtrabeculectomy using special instruments that allow the surgeon to make the hole from the inside of the eye rather than through the outside.
This technique causes minor damage to your eye tissues, making for a faster and easier recovery.
These shunts are devices much like the stent used in a microtrabeculectomy. The difference is that your eye surgeon inserts this shunt deeper into the eye, into an area called the suprachoroidal space.
When your eye surgeon places the shunt through this hole, fluid can drain from the eye more quickly, thus lowering your IOP. All of these MIGS are outpatient procedures and require minimal recovery time.
If you have mild or moderate open-angle glaucoma, one of our specialists will be able to recommend what procedure or combination of treatments are right for you and your unique needs.
Are you interested in learning if MIGS is suitable for you? Schedule an appointment at Sugiki Portis Eye Center in Honolulu, HI, today!